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Bioessays. 1999 May;21(5):422-31.

Signaling pathways in phagocytosis.

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Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, Department of Cell Biology, Warsaw, Poland.


Phagocytosis is an uptake of large particles governed by the actin-based cytoskeleton. Binding of particles to specific cell surface receptors is the first step of phagocytosis. In higher Eucaryota, the receptors able to mediate phagocytosis are expressed almost exclusively in macrophages, neutrophils, and monocytes, conferring immunodefence properties to these cells. Receptor clustering is thought to occur upon particle binding, that in turn generates a phagocytic signal. Several pathways of phagocytic signal transduction have been identified, including the activation of tyrosine kinases and (or) serine/threonine kinase C in pivotal roles. Kinase activation leads to phosphorylation of the receptors and other proteins, recruited at the sites of phagocytosis. Monomeric GTPases of the Rho and ARF families are likely to be engaged downstream of activated receptors. The GTPases, in cooperation with phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate 5-kinase and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase lipid modifying enzymes, can modulate locally the assembly of the submembranous actin filament system leading to particle internalization.

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