Defining macropinocytosis

Traffic. 2009 Apr;10(4):364-71. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0854.2009.00878.x. Epub 2009 Jan 24.


Macropinocytosis represents a distinct pathway of endocytosis in mammalian cells. This actin-driven endocytic process is not directly co-ordinated by the presence of cargo but can be induced upon activation of growth factor signalling pathways. The capacity to dissect the contribution of macropinocytosis to cellular processes has been hampered by a lack of unique molecular markers and defining features. While aspects of macropinosome formation and maturation are common to those shared by the other endocytic pathways, a number of key differences have recently begun to emerge and will be discussed in this study. It is now well established that macropinocytosis significantly contributes to antigen presentation by the immune system and is exploited by a range of pathogens for cellular invasion and avoidance of immune surveillance.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation / immunology
  • Bacteria / pathogenicity
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Endocytosis / physiology*
  • Endosomes / metabolism
  • Pinocytosis / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Viruses / pathogenicity