Cell receptors: definition, mechanisms and regulation of receptor-mediated endocytosis

Cell Mol Biol (Noisy-le-grand). 1994 Dec;40(8):1039-61.


Receptors allow the cells to recognize specific ligands and to receive extracellular messages. They can be classified into five families: 1) receptors for lipidic or lipophilic ligands; 2) the seven transmembrane receptors which mediate their messages by transduction through the activation of G-proteins, effectors and second messengers to amplify the response; 3) receptors which present an enzymatic activity on their transmembrane domains; 4) channel-receptors, transmembrane oligomeric molecules which let ions flow into the cell and 5) receptors which role is to internalize ligands, whatever their various functions. In parallel a concept of membrane plasticity was developed: vesicles are constantly formed from the plasma membrane, addressing complexes of ligand-receptors to specific intracellular compartments. This receptor-mediated endocytosis of ligand plays a critical role in regulating the number of a given receptor at the plasma membrane and in the cellular uptake of nutrients, growth factors and hormones. Many pathways exist for these transports but little is known about the signals which select the ligands or the receptors and direct them to their appropriate intracellular destination.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Endocytosis / physiology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / classification*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / physiology*


  • Receptors, Cell Surface