Phagocytosis, an alternative model system for the study of cell adhesion

Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2004 Dec;15(6):679-89. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2004.09.001.


Cell adhesion encompasses a variety of cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesive interactions. Whereas ligation of most adhesion receptors activate Rho-family GTP-binding proteins and the subsequent reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton, the molecular mechanisms involved remain poorly understood. Because phagocytosis is a spatially restricted adhesion process, it represents a simplified model system to investigate the spatio-temporal regulation of the signalling pathways that link surface adhesion receptors, small GTPases and the actin cytoskeleton. This review highlights some of the similarities between the formation and maintenance of adhesive contacts and phagocytic uptake and discusses why the study of phagocytosis can help understand more complex adhesion processes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion*
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Integrins / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Phagocytosis*
  • Signal Transduction
  • cdc42 GTP-Binding Protein / metabolism


  • Actins
  • Integrins
  • GTP-Binding Proteins
  • cdc42 GTP-Binding Protein