Search for inhibitors of endocytosis: Intended specificity and unintended consequences

Cell Logist. 2012 Oct 1;2(4):203-208. doi: 10.4161/cl.23967.


We discuss here the variety of approaches that have been taken to inhibit different forms of endocytosis. Typically, both non-specific and specific chemical inhibitors of endocytosis are tried in order to "classify" entry of a new plasma membrane protein into one of the various types of endocytosis. This classification can be confirmed through genetic approaches of protein depletion or overexpression of mutants of known endocytosis machinery components. Although some new compounds have been designed to be selective in biochemical assays, we caution investigators to be alert to the unintended consequences that sometimes arise when these compounds are applied to intact cells.

Keywords: chemical inhibitor; clathrin-independent endocytosis; clathrin-mediated endocytosis; endocytosis; inhibitor; phagocytosis; pinocytosis.