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Biochem J. 2002 Sep 15;366(Pt 3):689-704.

Phagosome maturation: aging gracefully.

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  • 1Programme in Cell Biology, Hospital for Sick Children and Department of Biochemistry, University of Toronto, Ontario M5G 1X8, Canada.


Foreign particles and apoptotic bodies are eliminated from the body by phagocytic leucocytes. The initial stage of the elimination process is the internalization of the particles into a plasma membrane-derived vacuole known as the phagosome. Such nascent phagosomes, however, lack the ability to kill pathogens or to degrade the ingested targets. These properties are acquired during the course of phagosomal maturation, a complex sequence of reactions that result in drastic remodelling of the phagosomal membrane and contents. The determinants and consequences of the fusion and fission reactions that underlie phagosomal maturation are the topic of this review.

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