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Rev Med Virol. 1997 Dec;7(4):199-209.

An Update on Non-clathrin-coated Endocytosis.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Manchester Medical School, Manchester M13 9PT, UK.


Recent evidence has proved that in addition to the well-documented clathrin-mediated endocytic route (vesicles of 100-150 nm), at least three distinct non-clathrin-coated endocytic pathways function at the surface of mammalian cells. Endocytosis via these pathways is initiated by caveolae (50-80 nm), macropinosomes (500-2000 nm) and micropinosomes (95-100 nm). The current state of knowledge about these non-clathrin coated endocytic routes is presented and evidence that endocytic routes other than via clathrin-coated vesicles are utilised by viruses is discussed. The recent advances in these areas have provided us with tools to investigate the entry of those viruses which appear to enter cells via endocytosis into non-clathrin-coated vesicles. Data indicate that these four endocytic pathways differ in the absence, presence and/or type of coat on the vesicles, the size of the vesicles, their sensitivity to a variety of inhibitors, and in the ligands endocytosed. A historical perspective of the discovery of these non-clathrin-coated endocytic pathways is provided and recent information is summarised and discussed. The entry of viruses via non-clathrin-coated pits is destined to be an exciting new area of viral-cell entry, as has been indicated recently by the finding that entry of simian virus type 40 into cells occurs via caveolae.


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