Endocytosis: relation to capping and cell locomotion

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Science  18 May 1984:
Vol. 224, Issue 4650, pp. 681-686
DOI: 10.1126/science.6719108


Most mammalian cells, such as fibroblasts, continuously internalize part of their surface membrane by endocytosis, and then later return it to the cell surface. This cyclical process is initiated by coated pits in the plasma membrane. These pits collect specific receptors plus lipid for internalization, but exclude other proteins. On a motile cell, the sites of endocytosis (randomly located on the cell) and those of membrane return (located at the front of the cell) are not coincident. This causes a bulk flow of lipid plus receptors in the plasma membrane, away from the front of the cell. Large objects on the cell surface are swept to the rear of the cell by this flow, a process called capping. Cells may use this polarized endocytic cycle to move.

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