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9.C.13 The Eukaryotic and Bacterial Endocytosis (EBE) Family

Endocytosis is a process by which extracellular material such as macromolecules can be incorporated into cells via a membrane-trafficking system. Thus, endocytosis is a cellular process in which substances are brought into the cell. The material to be internalized is surrounded by an area of cell membrane, which then buds off inside the cell to form a vesicle containing the ingested material. Endocytosis includes pinocytosis and phagocytosis (Hallett 2020). Endocytic pathways have been described for slime molds (Vines and King 2019), animals ((Hartenstein and Martinez 2019; Rudolf and Straka 2019) plants (Fan et al. 2015; Ivanov and Vert 2020), fungi (Dimou and Diallinas 2020), and single celleds eukaryotes (Wideman et al. 2014). The machinery for endocytosis of the epidermal growth factor receptor coordinates the transport of incoming hepatitis B virus to the endosomal network ((Iwamoto et al. 2020). We refer to such endocytic mechanisms as Bulk Transport, and this topic is not covered in detail in TCDB which focuses on molecular transport. Endocytosis of nutrient transporters in fungi provides a mechanism of regulating nutrient uptake, and this topic has been reviewed (Barata-Antunes et al. 2021).


Although universal among eukaryotes, endocytosis has only recently been identified in Bacteria or Archaea. Intracellular membranes are known to compartmentalize cells of bacteria in the phylum Planctomycetes, suggesting the potential for endocytosis and membrane trafficking in members of this phylum. Lonhienne et. al, (2010) showed that cells of the planctomycete Gemmata obscuriglobus have the ability to take up proteins present in the external milieu in an energy-dependent process analogous to eukaryotic endocytosis, and that internalized proteins are associated with vesicle membranes. Occurrence of such an ability in a bacterium is consistent with autogenous evolution of endocytosis and the endomembrane system in an ancestral noneukaryotic cell.

References associated with 9.C.13 family:

Barata-Antunes, C., R. Alves, G. Talaia, M. Casal, H. GerĂ³s, R. Mans, and S. Paiva. (2021). Endocytosis of nutrient transporters in fungi: The ART of connecting signaling and trafficking. Comput Struct Biotechnol J 19: 1713-1737. 33897977
Dimou, S. and G. Diallinas. (2020). Life and Death of Fungal Transporters under the Challenge of Polarity. Int J Mol Sci 21:. 32751072
Fan, L., R. Li, J. Pan, Z. Ding, and J. Lin. (2015). Endocytosis and its regulation in plants. Trends Plant Sci. 20: 388-397. 25914086
Hallett, M.B. (2020). An Introduction to Phagocytosis. Adv Exp Med Biol 1246: 1-7. 32399822
Hartenstein, V. and P. Martinez. (2019). Phagocytosis in cellular defense and nutrition: a food-centered approach to the evolution of macrophages. Cell Tissue Res 377: 527-547. 31485720
Ivanov, R. and G. Vert. (2020). Endocytosis in plants: Peculiarities and roles in the regulated trafficking of plant metal transporters. Biol Cell. [Epub: Ahead of Print] 33044749
Iwamoto, M., W. Saso, K. Nishioka, H. Ohashi, R. Sugiyama, A. Ryo, M. Ohki, J.H. Yun, S.Y. Park, T. Ohshima, R. Suzuki, H. Aizaki, M. Muramatsu, T. Matano, S. Iwami, C. Sureau, T. Wakita, and K. Watashi. (2020). The machinery for endocytosis of epidermal growth factor receptor coordinates the transport of incoming hepatitis B virus to the endosomal network. J. Biol. Chem. 295: 800-807. 31836663
Lonhienne, T.G., E. Sagulenko, R.I. Webb, K.C. Lee, J. Franke, D.P. Devos, A. Nouwens, B.J. Carroll, and J.A. Fuerst. (2010). Endocytosis-like protein uptake in the bacterium Gemmata obscuriglobus. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 107: 12883-12888. 20566852
Rudolf, R. and T. Straka. (2019). Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor at vertebrate motor endplates: Endocytosis, recycling, and degradation. Neurosci Lett 711: 134434. 31421156
Vines, J.H. and J.S. King. (2019). The endocytic pathways of Dictyostelium discoideum. Int J Dev Biol 63: 461-471. 31840784
Wideman, J.G., K.F. Leung, M.C. Field, and J.B. Dacks. (2014). The cell biology of the endocytic system from an evolutionary perspective. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol 6: a016998. 24478384