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Research article2019Peer reviewedOpen access

Giardia excretory-secretory proteins modulate the enzymatic activities of mast cell chymase and tryptase

Li, Zhiqiang; Peirasmaki, Dimitra; Svard, Staffan; Abrink, Magnus


Background: Mast cells are involved in the host immune response controlling infection with the non-invasive intestinal protozoan parasite Giardia intestinalis. Experimental infections in rodents with G. intestinalis showed increased intestinal expression of mucosal and connective mast cell specific proteases suggesting that both mucosal and connective tissue mast cells are recruited and activated during infection. During infection Giardia excretory-secretory proteins (ESPs) with immunomodulatory capacity are released. However, studies investigating potential interactions between Giardia ESPs and the connective tissue mast cell specific serine proteases, ie. human chymase and mouse mast cell protease (mMCP)-4 and, human and mouse tryptase (mMCP-6) remain scarce.Results: We first investigated if soluble Giardia proteins (sGPs), which over-lap extensively in protein content with ESP fractions, from the isolates GS, WB and H3, could induce mast cell activation. sGPs induced a minor activation of bone marrow derived mucosal-like mast cells, as indicated by increased IL-6 secretion and no degranulation. Furthermore, sGPs were highly resistant to degradation by human tryptase while human chymase degraded a 65 kDa sGP and, wild-type mouse ear tissue extracts degraded several protein bands in the 10 to 75 kDa range. In striking contrast, sGPs and ESPs were found to increase the enzymatic activity of human and mouse tryptase and to reduce the activity of human and mouse chymase.Conclusion: Our finding suggests that Giardia ssp. via enhancement or reduction of mast cell protease activity may modulate mast cell-driven intestinal immune responses. ESP-mediated modulation of the mast cell specific proteases may also increase degradation of tight junctions, which may be beneficial for Giardia ssp. during infection.


Mast cell; Tryptase; Chymase; Infection; Giardia ssp.; Parasite; Intestine; Giardia excretory-secretory proteins (ESPs)

Published in

Molecular Immunology
2019, Volume: 114, pages: 535-544