Gillin Frances D.

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Gillin
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Frances D.
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  • Article
    A new family of giardial cysteine-rich non-VSP protein genes and a novel cyst protein
    (Public Library of Science, 2006-12) Davids, Barbara J. ; Reiner, David S. ; Birkeland, Shanda R. ; Preheim, Sarah P. ; Cipriano, Michael J. ; McArthur, Andrew G. ; Gillin, Frances D.
    Since the Giardia lamblia cyst wall is necessary for survival in the environment and host infection, we tested the hypothesis that it contains proteins other than the three known cyst wall proteins. Serial analysis of gene expression during growth and encystation revealed a gene, “HCNCp” (High Cysteine Non-variant Cyst protein), that was upregulated late in encystation, and that resembled the classic Giardia variable surface proteins (VSPs) that cover the trophozoite plasmalemma. HCNCp is 13.9% cysteine, with many “CxxC” tetrapeptide motifs and a transmembrane sequence near the C-terminus. However, HCNCp has multiple “CxC” motifs rarely found in VSPs, and does not localize to the trophozoite plasmalemma. Moreover, the HCNCp C-terminus differed from the canonical VSP signature. Full-length epitope-tagged HCNCp expressed under its own promoter was upregulated during encystation with highest expression in cysts, including 42 and 21 kDa C-terminal fragments. Tagged HCNCp targeted to the nuclear envelope in trophozoites, and co-localized with cyst proteins to encystation-specific secretory vesicles during encystation. HCNCp defined a novel trafficking pathway as it localized to the wall and body of cysts, while the cyst proteins were exclusively in the wall. Unlike VSPs, HCNCp is expressed in at least five giardial strains and four WB subclones expressing different VSPs. Bioinformatics identified 60 additional large high cysteine membrane proteins (HCMp) containing ≥20 CxxC/CxC's lacking the VSP-specific C-terminal CRGKA. HCMp were absent or rare in other model or parasite genomes, except for Tetrahymena thermophila with 30. MEME analysis classified the 61 gHCMp genes into nine groups with similar internal motifs. Our data suggest that HCNCp is a novel invariant cyst protein belonging to a new HCMp family that is abundant in the Giardia genome. HCNCp and the other HCMp provide a rich source for developing parasite-specific diagnostic reagents, vaccine candidates, and subjects for further research into Giardia biology.
  • Preprint
    Protein phosphatase 2A plays a crucial role in Giardia lamblia differentiation
    ( 2006-12-06) Lauwaet, Tineke ; Davids, Barbara J. ; Torres-Escobar, Ascencion ; Birkeland, Shanda R. ; Cipriano, Michael J. ; Preheim, Sarah P. ; Palm, Daniel ; Svard, Staffan G. ; McArthur, Andrew G. ; Gillin, Frances D.
    The ability of Giardia lamblia to undergo two distinct differentiations in response to physiologic stimuli is central to its pathogenesis. The giardial cytoskeleton changes drastically during encystation and excystation. However, the signal transduction pathways mediating these transformations are poorly understood. We tested the hypothesis that PP2A, a highly conserved serine/threonine protein phosphatase, might be important in giardial differentiation. We found that in vegetatively growing trophozoites, gPP2A-C protein localizes to basal bodies/centrosomes, and to cytoskeletal structures unique to Giardia: the ventral disk, and the dense rods of the anterior, posterior-lateral, and caudal flagella. During encystation, gPP2A-C protein disappears from only the anterior flagellar dense rods. During excystation, gPP2A-C localizes to the cyst wall in excysting cysts but is not found in the wall of cysts with emerging excyzoites. Transcriptome and immunoblot analyses indicated that gPP2A-C mRNA and protein are upregulated in mature cysts and during the early stage of excystation that models passage through the host stomach. Stable expression of gPP2A-C antisense RNA did not affect vegetative growth, but strongly inhibited the formation of encystation secretory vesicles (ESV) and water-resistant cysts. Moreover, the few cysts that formed were highly defective in excystation. Thus, gPP2A-C localizes to universal cytoskeletal structures and to structures unique to Giardia. It is also important for encystation and excystation, crucial giardial transformations that entail entry into and exit from dormancy.
  • Preprint
    Transcriptome analyses of the Giardia lamblia life cycle
    ( 2010-06-04) Birkeland, Shanda R. ; Preheim, Sarah P. ; Davids, Barbara J. ; Cipriano, Michael J. ; Palm, Daniel ; Reiner, David S. ; Svard, Staffan G. ; Gillin, Frances D. ; McArthur, Andrew G.
    We quantified mRNA abundance from 10 stages in the Giardia lamblia life cycle in vitro using Serial Analysis of Gene Expression (SAGE). 163 abundant transcripts were expressed constitutively. 71 transcripts were upregulated specifically during excystation and 42 during encystation. Nonetheless, the transcriptomes of cysts and trophozoites showed major differences. SAGE detected co-expressed clusters of 284 transcripts differentially expressed in cysts and excyzoites and 287 transcripts in vegetative trophozoites and encysting cells. All clusters included known genes and pathways as well as proteins unique to Giardia or diplomonads. SAGE analysis of the Giardia life cycle identified a number of kinases, phosphatases, and DNA replication proteins involved in excystation and encystation, which could be important for examining the roles of cell signaling in giardial differentiation. Overall, these data pave the way for directed gene discovery and a better understanding of the biology of Giardia lamblia.