Parasitology Research

, Volume 117, Issue 4, pp 1035–1041 | Cite as

In silico analysis of the EF-hand proteins in the genome of Giardia intestinalis assembly A

  • Magda E. Alvarado
  • Claudia Rubiano
  • Diana Velandia
  • Moisés Wasserman
Original Paper


Giardia intestinalis is a parasite that inhabits the small intestine of humans and other mammals, causing a disease that can manifest itself with acute diarrhea. This parasite is an early divergent eukaryote with a compact genome and a life cycle composed of two distinct cell types: the trophozoite, the replicative form, and the cyst, the infectious form. Signal transduction pathways implicated in differentiation processes of G. intestinalis are largely unknown. Calcium, considered an essential messenger in cell signaling, has been shown to regulate a myriad of key cell processes including metabolism, motility, and exocytosis, among other important functions, through calcium-binding proteins (CaBPs). The most important and largest family of CaBPs is the EF-hand protein family. To investigate the nature of calcium signaling pathways present in this protozoan, an in silico analysis of the genome to identify genes encoding EF-hand proteins was undertaken. Twenty-eight sequences containing EF-hand domains were found; most of which have only a pair of domains, and half of the sequences were divergent or unique to Giardia. In addition, the transcription pattern for eight genes encoding EF-hand proteins was assessed during encystation. It was found that all the genes were differentially transcribed suggesting a different function in this process. The in silico results suggest that in G. intestinalis, calcium is involved in the regulation of protein phosphorylation through kinases and phosphatases.


Giardia intestinalis EF-hand Calcium Calcium-binding protein Encystation 


Funding information

This work was supported by COLCIENCIAS (Fondo Nacional de Financiamiento. Contrato de Recuperación Contingente-FP44842-334-2014—M.W.).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratorio de Investigaciones Básicas en Bioquímica—LIBBIQ, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad Nacional de ColombiaBogotáColombia

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