The establishment and maintenance of polarized plasma membrane domains is essential for cellular function and proper development of organisms. The molecules and pathways involved in determining cell polarity are remarkably well conserved between animal species. Historically, exocytic mechanisms have received primary emphasis among trafficking routes responsible for cell polarization. Accumulating evidence now reveals that endocytosis plays an equally important role in the proper localization of key polarity proteins. Intriguingly, some polarity proteins can also regulate the endocytic machinery. Here, we review emerging evidence for the reciprocal regulation between polarity proteins and endocytic pathways, and discuss possible models for how these distinct processes could interact to create separate cellular domains.
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