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Ultrastructure and Molecular Toxicological Effects of the Coronate Scyphomedusa Linuche unguiculata Venom on Giardia duodenalis

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Cnidarian venoms are rising as a new source of potential pharmacologically active molecules. They have been investigated for their neurotoxins acting on several nervous system targets but little is known about their antimicrobial and antiparasitic properties. Giardiasis, a common disease in developing countries, is produced by the protozoan Giardia duodenalis which induces severe gastroenteritis when infecting humans. The aim of this study is to describe the structural and molecular effects of Linuche unguiculata jellyfish extract on G. duodenalis. In this study, the effects on the ultrastructure were observed by electron transmission microscopy 24 h after the exposure to the extract and to the commercial antiparasitic drugs metronidazole, nitazoxanide and albendazole. To assess the effect at the molecular level, the gene expression analysis of β-tubulin, β-giardin, cysteine protease and glutamate dehydrogenase of G. duodenalis exposed to Linuche’s extract was performed by the RT-PCR technique. Our results show that the exposure to venom caused severe changes on Giardia’s cellular organelles such as submembrane vesicles, nuclei and adhesive disk. Our experiments also showed that the extract significantly alters the expression of genes that encode for the structural protein β-tubulin and the enzyme glutamate dehydrogenase, which are related to cell viability.

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Glutamate dehydrogenase


Cysteine protease


Reverse Transcriptase-Polymerase Chain Reaction


Complementary Deoxyribonucleic acid


Deoxynucleotide triphosphate


Deoxyadenosine triphosphate


Deoxyguanosine triphosphate


Deoxycytidine triphosphate


Deoxythymidine triphosphate


Ribonucleic acid


Hydrochloric acid




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The article is in memory of two excellent co-authors who passed away but they contributed with their knowledge during the development of the research, Dr. Lourdes Segura-Puertas and Dr. Omar Zapata-Pérez. The author wishes to acknowledge M.Sc. Fernando Negrete-Soto, from the ICMyL-UNAM for their invaluable help in specimen collection (J.S-R); Dr. B. Sánchez Munguía from Departamento de Infectómica y Patogésis Molecular, Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados, Unidad Zacatenco for her assistance with histological cuts and Jesús Fuentes-González and Karen E. Pérez-Beltrán from CIATEJ, A.C. for graphical design.


This research was funded by Dirección General de Asuntos del Personal Académico (DGAPA) of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, grant number IN213905, IN214720.

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Correspondence to Judith Sánchez-Rodríguez.

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Morales-Landa, J.L., Lazcano-Pérez, F., Cedillo-Rivera, R. et al. Ultrastructure and Molecular Toxicological Effects of the Coronate Scyphomedusa Linuche unguiculata Venom on Giardia duodenalis. Biologia 76, 1033–1039 (2021).

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