Roles for actin assembly in endocytosis

Annu Rev Biochem. 2012;81:661-86. doi: 10.1146/annurev-biochem-060910-094416.


Endocytosis includes a number of processes by which cells internalize segments of their plasma membrane, enclosing a wide variety of material from outside the cell. Endocytosis can contribute to uptake of nutrients, regulation of signaling molecules, control of osmotic pressure, and function of synapses. The actin cytoskeleton plays an essential role in several of these processes. Actin assembly can create protrusions that encompass extracellular materials. Actin can also support the processes of invagination of a membrane segment into the cytoplasm, elongation of the invagination, scission of the new vesicle from the plasma membrane, and movement of the vesicle away from the membrane. We briefly discuss various types of endocytosis, including phagocytosis, macropinocytosis, and clathrin-independent endocytosis. We focus mainly on new findings on the relative importance of actin in clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME) in yeast versus mammalian cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Actins / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Clathrin-Coated Vesicles / metabolism*
  • Endocytosis*
  • Humans
  • Mammals / metabolism*
  • Yeasts / cytology
  • Yeasts / metabolism*


  • Actins