Giardia lamblia is a protozoan parasite that causes one of the most common gastrointestinal diseases worldwide. To eliminate the parasite from the host intestine, it is necessary the activation of B-cell and T-cell dependent mechanisms. The knowledge about Giardia antigens that can stimulate the host immune response is limited. Recently, it has been described the Binding Immunoglobulin Protein (BIP) of G. lamblia (71 kDa) as a potential immunogen. Additionally, our group has identified a highly immunogenic antigen (5G8 protein) of G. lamblia with a relative molecular mass of approximately 70 kDa. There is some evidence suggesting that the 5G8 protein may activate both humoral and cellular immune responses. Based on these observations and preliminary mass spectrometry analyses, we hypothesized that the antigen 5G8 could be the BIP protein. In the present study, we characterize immunochemically the BIP protein of Giardia. Flow cytometric assays and western blotting were used to determine the expression profile of BIP and 5G8 antigens in Giardia trophozoites. The differences in expression profile indicated that BIP and 5G8 are not the same molecule. ELISA and Western blotting assays revealed that BIP protein was recognized by antibodies produced during G. lamblia infection in C3H/HeN mice. MTT assays did not reveal the activation of cellular immune response induced by BIP protein in vitro. In addition, we identified the potential B-cell and T-cell epitopes of G. lamblia BIP protein. This molecule is a conserved protein among Giardia strains and other pathogens. The complete immunological characterization of this antigen will contribute to a better understanding of the host–parasite interactions in Giardia infection.
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- Giardia lamblia
- Immune response
- Immunogenic protein