Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Receptor-Mediated Endocytosis

Valerie Brown, Mark I. Greene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


In general, receptors are involved in pathways of endocytosis, either constitutive or ligand induced. These receptors cluster in clathrin-coated pits, enter the cell via clathrin-coated vesicles, pass through an acidified endosome in which the receptors and ligands are sorted, and then either recycle to the cell surface, become stored intracellularly, or are degraded in lysosomes. The internalization pathways serve a variety of functions, such as nutrient uptake, removal of activated proteins, clearance of macromolecules, opportunistic entry of certain viruses and toxins, dissociation and degradation of ligand, and receptor-level regulation. Many receptors follow more than one intracellular pathway, depending on the cell type, receptor concentration, type of ligand, ligand valency, and ligand concentration. Although endocytosis is common to all nucleated eukaryotic cells, the factors that regulate these receptor-mediated endocytic pathways are not fully understood. Defective receptors that are not capable of undergoing normal endocytosis can lead to certain disease states, as in the case of familial hypercholesteremia (FH). This review has three objectives: (i) to describe the different routes that receptors and ligands follow after internaliation; (ii) to describe the potential mechanisms which regulate the initiation and subsequent sorting of receptors and ligands so they reach their final destination; and (iii) to describe the potential functions of receptor-mediated endocytosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-409
Number of pages11
JournalDNA and Cell Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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