Cell biology of neuronal endocytosis

J Neurosci Res. 1993 Sep 1;36(1):1-9. doi: 10.1002/jnr.490360102.


Endocytosis is the process by which cells take in fluid and components of the plasma membrane. In this way cells obtain nutrients and trophic factors, retrieve membrane proteins for degradation, and sample their environment. In neuronal cells endocytosis is essential for the recycling of membrane after neurotransmitter release and plays a critical role during early developmental stages. Moreover, alterations of the endocytic pathway have been attributed a crucial role in the pathophysiology of certain neurological diseases. Although well characterized at the ultrastructural level, little is known of the dynamics and molecular organization of the neuronal endocytic pathways. In this respect most of our knowledge comes from studies of non-neuronal cells. In this review we will examine the endocytic pathways in neurons from a cell biological viewpoint by making comparisons with non-neuronal cells and in particular with another polarized cell, the epithelial cell.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Axonal Transport
  • Cell Compartmentation
  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • Coated Pits, Cell-Membrane / physiology
  • Dendrites / physiology
  • Endocytosis / physiology*
  • Epithelial Cells
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / physiology
  • Lysosomes / physiology
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism
  • rab5 GTP-Binding Proteins


  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • GTP-Binding Proteins
  • rab5 GTP-Binding Proteins