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Teratology. 1990 Apr;41(4):383-93.

Cell physiology of the rat visceral yolk sac: a study of pinocytosis and lysosome function.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Keele, Staffordshire, England.


The rat visceral yolk sac is active in pinocytosis. Macromolecules accumulated by the tissue are, in general, routed to the lysosomes, where they either accumulate (if non-digestible by the lysosomal enzymes) or are degraded to their monomeric components. The yolk sac cells engage in adsorptive pinocytosis, which leads to the preferential uptake of macromolecules bearing certain surface features, such as a hydrophobic or a cationic domain. Substrates that enter the yolk sac by adsorptive pinocytosis can in some cases act as bivalent ligands, carrying in a second substance by "piggy-back" pinocytosis. Pinocytosis and intralysosomal digestion of plasma proteins by the organogenesis-stage rat embryo play an important nutritional role, supplying a high proportion of the embryo's amino acid requirement. Teratogenic effects can be induced by substances that inhibit either pinocytosis or intralysosomal proteolysis at this sensitive stage of gestation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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