Quantitative proteomics in Giardia duodenalis—achievements and challenges

Samantha J. Emery, Ernest Lacey, Paul A. Haynes*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    Giardia duodenalis (syn. G. lamblia and G. intestinalis) is a protozoan parasite of vertebrates and a major contributor to the global burden of diarrheal diseases and gastroenteritis. The publication of multiple genome sequences in the G. duodenalis species complex has provided important insights into parasite biology, and made post-genomic technologies, including proteomics, significantly more accessible. The aims of proteomics are to identify and quantify proteins present in a cell, and assign functions to them within the context of dynamic biological systems. In Giardia, proteomics in the post-genomic era has transitioned from reliance on gel-based systems to utilisation of a diverse array of techniques based on bottom-up LC–MS/MS technologies. Together, these have generated crucial foundations for subcellular proteomes, elucidated intra- and inter-assemblage isolate variation, and identified pathways and markers in differentiation, host-parasite interactions and drug resistance. However, in Giardia, proteomics remains an emerging field, with considerable shortcomings evident from the published research. These include a bias towards assemblage A, a lack of emphasis on quantitative analytical techniques, and limited information on post-translational protein modifications. Additionally, there are multiple areas of research for which proteomic data is not available to add value to published transcriptomic data. The challenge of amalgamating data in the systems biology paradigm necessitates the further generation of large, high-quality quantitative datasets to accurately model parasite biology. This review surveys the current proteomic research available for Giardia and evaluates their technical and quantitative approaches, while contextualising their biological insights into parasite pathology, isolate variation and eukaryotic evolution. Finally, we propose areas of priority for the generation of future proteomic data to explore fundamental questions in Giardia, including the analysis of post-translational modifications, and the design of MS-based assays for validation of differentially expressed proteins in large datasets.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)96-112
    Number of pages17
    JournalMolecular and Biochemical Parasitology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


    • Giardia duodenalis
    • Quantitative proteomics
    • Comparative proteomics
    • Parasite proteomics


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