Shaping cups into phagosomes and macropinosomes

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2008 Aug;9(8):639-49. doi: 10.1038/nrm2447. Epub 2008 Jul 9.


The ingestion of particles or cells by phagocytosis and of fluids by macropinocytosis requires the formation of large endocytic vacuolar compartments inside cells by the organized movements of membranes and the actin cytoskeleton. Fc-receptor-mediated phagocytosis is guided by the zipper-like progression of local, receptor-initiated responses that conform to particle geometry. By contrast, macropinosomes and some phagosomes form with little or no guidance from receptors. The common organizing structure is a cup-shaped invagination of the plasma membrane that becomes the phagosome or macropinosome. Recent studies, focusing on the physical properties of forming cups, indicate that a feedback mechanism regulates the signal transduction of phagocytosis and macropinocytosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Physiological Phenomena*
  • Cell Shape / physiology*
  • Feedback, Physiological / physiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Phagocytosis / physiology*
  • Phagosomes / physiology*
  • Phagosomes / ultrastructure
  • Pinocytosis / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology