Protease secretion by Giardia duodenalis
trophozoites upon interaction with epithelial cells and its association with the parasite adhesion was studied in co-cultures of parasites with IEC6 epithelial cell monolayers in the presence or absence of protease inhibitors. Proteolytic activity in supernatants from trophozoites was enhanced when they were co-cultured with IEC6 cells. This activity was strongly inhibited by pre-incubation of live trophozoites with E-64 and TPCK and a concomitant inhibition of parasite adhesion to IEC6 cells was observed. These data suggest that trophozoites secrete cysteine-type proteases that play a role in the adhesion of G. duodenalis to epithelial cells.