The present study analyzed giardin transcription in trophozoites and cysts during encystation of Giardia lamblia. Encystment was induced using standard methods, and the numbers of trophozoites and cysts were counted at various time points during the process. At all time points, RNA from both stages were assayed for levels of alpha2-, beta-, and delta-giardin mRNA as well as for cyst wall protein 3 (CWP3) mRNA using quantitative RT-PCR. In encystation medium, the number of G. lamblia trophozoites decreased, while the number of cysts increased between 0 and 72 hr. In trophozoites, alpha2- and beta-giardin transcription decreased over time, while delta-giardin transcription remained unchanged during the same time period. CWP3 transcription exhibited a slight increase in trophozoites at 8 hr, followed by a decrease at subsequent time points. Expression of alpha2-giardin increased at 48 hr in cysts followed by decreased expression at 72 hr, while beta- and delta-giardin expression was unchanged during encystation. CWP3 transcription gradually decreased from 24–72 hr in cysts. Consistent with previous studies, giardin proteins appeared to be disassembled into amorphous structures inside cysts during encystation. These findings represent the first analysis of giardin transcription in separate populations of trophozoites and cysts during encystation and indicate differential regulation of giardin mRNA expression by these developmental stages.

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