The cell biology of phagocytosis

Annu Rev Pathol. 2012;7:61-98. doi: 10.1146/annurev-pathol-011811-132445. Epub 2011 Sep 9.


Engulfment and destruction of invading microorganisms by phagocytosis are critical components of the innate immune response. In addition, phagocytosis is also required for the clearance of apoptotic bodies, an essential aspect of tissue homeostasis and remodeling. Here, we summarize the current knowledge of the cellular and molecular basis of phagosome formation and maturation. We discuss the manner in which phagocytosis is subverted by certain pathogens and consider congenital disorders that affect phagocyte function.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn / genetics
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn / immunology
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / immunology
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Immune Evasion
  • Infections / immunology
  • Phagocytes / immunology
  • Phagocytes / physiology
  • Phagocytosis / immunology
  • Phagocytosis / physiology*
  • Phagosomes / immunology
  • Phagosomes / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction