Endocytic regulation of cytokine receptor signaling

Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2016 Dec;32:63-73. doi: 10.1016/j.cytogfr.2016.07.002. Epub 2016 Jul 16.


Signaling of plasma membrane receptors can be regulated by endocytosis at different levels, including receptor internalization, endocytic sorting towards degradation or recycling, and using endosomes as mobile signaling platforms. Increasing number of reports underscore the importance of endocytic mechanisms for signaling of cytokine receptors. In this short review we present both consistent and conflicting data regarding endocytosis and its role in signaling of receptors from the tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily (TNFRSF) and those for interleukins (ILRs) and interferons (IFNRs). These receptors can be internalized through various endocytic routes and most of them are able to activate downstream pathways from endosomal compartments. Moreover, some of the cytokine receptors clearly require endocytosis for proper signal transduction. Still, the data describing internalization mechanisms and fate of cytokine receptors are often fragmentary and barely address the relation between their endocytosis and signaling. In the light of growing knowledge regarding different mechanisms of endocytosis, extending it to the regulation of cytokine receptor signaling may improve our understanding of the complex and pleiotropic functions of these molecules.

Keywords: Clathrin; Cytokine receptor; Dynamin; Endocytosis; Endosome; Interferon; Interleukin; Internalization; Jak; Lymphotoxin; Multivesicular body; NF-κB; STAT; Signaling; TNF; Trafficking.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Endocytosis
  • Humans
  • Protein Subunits / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Cytokine / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Protein Subunits
  • Receptors, Cytokine