Signaling on the endocytic pathway

Traffic. 2001 Jun;2(6):375-84. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0854.2001.002006375.x.


Ligand binding to receptor tyrosine kinases and G-protein-coupled receptors initiates signal transduction events and induces receptor endocytosis via clathrin-coated pits and vesicles. While receptor-mediated endocytosis has been traditionally considered an effective mechanism to attenuate ligand-activated responses, more recent studies demonstrate that signaling continues on the endocytic pathway. In fact, certain signaling events, such as the activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinases, appear to require endocytosis. Protein components of signal transduction cascades can assemble at clathrin coated pits and remain associated with endocytic vesicles following their dynamin-dependent release from the plasma membrane. Thus, endocytic vesicles can function as a signaling compartment distinct from the plasma membrane. These observations demonstrate that endocytosis plays an important role in the activation and propagation of signaling pathways.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Endocytosis*
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Ligands
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Ligands
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases