Cellular Uptake Pathways of Nanoparticles: Process of Endocytosis and Factors Affecting Their Fate

Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2021 Jul 14. doi: 10.2174/1389201022666210714145356. Online ahead of print.


Background: Efficient and controlled internalization of NPs into the cells depends on their physicochemical properties and dynamics of the plasma membrane. NPs-cell interaction is a complex process that decides the fate of NPs internalization through different endocytosis pathways.

Objective: The aim of this review is to highlight the physicochemical properties of synthesized nanoparticles (NPs) and their interaction with the cellular-dynamics and pathways like phagocytosis, pinocytosis, macropinocytosis, clathrin, and caveolae-mediated endocytosis and the involvement of effector proteins domain such as clathrin, AP2, caveolin, Arf6, Cdc42, dynamin and cell surface receptors during the endocytosis process of NPs.

Method: An electronic search was performed to explore the focused reviews and research articles on types of endocytosis and physicochemical properties of nanoparticles and their impact on cellular internalizations. The search was limited to peer-reviewed journals in the PubMed database.

Results: This article discusses in detail how different types of NPs and their physicochemical properties such as size, shape, aspect ratio, surface charge, hydrophobicity, elasticity, stiffness, corona formation, surface functionalization changes the pattern of endocytosis in the presence of different pharmacological blockers. Some external forces like a magnetic field, electric field, and ultrasound exploit the cell membrane dynamics to permeabilize them for efficient internalization with respect to fundamental principles of membrane bending and pore formation.

Conclusion: This review will be useful to attract and guide the audience to understand the endocytosis mechanism and their pattern with respect to physicochemical properties of NPs to improve their efficacy and targeting to achieve the impactful outcome in drug-delivery and theranostics applications.

Keywords: Internalization; caveolae; clathrin; functionalization; macropinocytosis; magnetic field; permeation; phagocytosis; ultrasound.