Endocytosis and signaling

Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2011 Aug;23(4):393-403. doi: 10.1016/j.ceb.2011.03.008. Epub 2011 Apr 5.


Many cellular signaling processes are governed by endocytosis through the internalization of plasma membrane receptors. This receptor clearance defines the quality with which a cell can react to extracellular stimuli. However, growing evidence indicates that endocytosis also enables the formation of endosome-specific signal transduction complexes. Their activity is controlled by the balanced trafficking of receptors and signaling molecules through the endocytic compartments. These are commonly divided into early endosomes, recycling endosomes, and late endosomes. Recent progress has been made in the understanding of the biogenesis of these organelles, highlighting their dynamic interconversion, maturation and also the generation of heterogenous subdomains on their surface. These multifunctional compartments represent the physical basis for the assembly and turnover of signaling complexes, which in turn themselves can define specialized endosomal-signaling platforms.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Endocytosis*
  • Endosomes / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Protein Transport
  • Signal Transduction*