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Bioessays. 2000 Mar;22(3):255-63.

Phagosome dynamics and function.

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Norwegian Radium Hospital, Department of Biophysics, Institute for Cancer Research, Montebello, 0310 Oslo, Norway.


Phagocytosis of microorganisms and other particles is mediated most efficiently by receptors such as Fc-receptors (FcR) and complement-receptors (C3R). Interaction between these receptors and ligands on the particle results in signal transduction events that lead to actin polymerisation and phagosome formation. The phagosome then undergoes a maturation process whereby it transforms into a phagolysosome. Phagosome maturation depends on interactions (fusion events) with early and late endosomes as well as with lysosomes. The fusion processes are regulated by small GTP-binding proteins and other proteins that are also involved in fusion processes in the endocytic pathway. Although most phagocytosed microorganisms are killed in the lysosome, some pathogens have developed survival strategies and are able to live in the harsh conditions in the phagolysosome or interfere with the maturation process and thereby evade destruction by acid hydrolases.

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