Membrane trafficking and signaling: two sides of the same coin

Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2012 Apr;23(2):154-64. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2011.11.002. Epub 2011 Nov 7.


Recent findings on clathrin-dependent and non clathrin-dependent endocytic routes are currently changing our classical view of endocytosis. Originally seen as a way for the cell to internalize membrane, receptors or various soluble molecules, this process is in fact directly linked to complex signaling pathways. Here, we review new insights in endocytosis and present latest development in imaging techniques that allow us to visualize and follow the dynamics of membrane-associated signaling events at the plasma membrane and other intracellular compartments. The immune synapse is taken as an illustration of the importance of membrane reorganization and proteins clustering to initiate and maintain signaling. Future challenges include understanding the crosslink between traffic and signaling and how all compartmentalized signals are integrated inside the cell at a higher level.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton
  • Animals
  • Cell Compartmentation
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Clathrin / metabolism
  • Endocytosis*
  • Endosomes / metabolism
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism
  • Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer
  • Galectins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunological Synapses / metabolism
  • Nanotechnology / methods
  • Protein Interaction Mapping / methods
  • Protein Transport
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Clathrin
  • Galectins
  • ErbB Receptors