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Methods Mol Biol. 2017;1519:1-16.

Phagocytosis: Hungry, Hungry Cells.

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Molecular Science Graduate Program, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5B2K3.
Molecular Science Graduate Program, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5B2K3.
Department of Chemistry and Biology, Ryerson University, 350 Victoria Street, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5B2K3.


Phagocytosis is the cellular internalization and sequestration of particulate matter into a `phagosome, which then matures into a phagolysosome. The phagolysosome then offers a specialized acidic and hydrolytic milieu that ultimately degrades the engulfed particle. In multicellular organisms, phagocytosis and phagosome maturation play two key physiological roles. First, phagocytic cells have an important function in tissue remodeling and homeostasis by eliminating apoptotic bodies, senescent cells and cell fragments. Second, phagocytosis is a critical weapon of the immune system, whereby cells like macrophages and neutrophils hunt and engulf a variety of pathogens and foreign particles. Not surprisingly, pathogens have evolved mechanisms to either block or alter phagocytosis and phagosome maturation, ultimately usurping the cellular machinery for their own survival. Here, we review past and recent discoveries that highlight how phagocytes recognize target particles, key signals that emanate after phagocyte-particle engagement, and how these signals help modulate actin-dependent remodeling of the plasma membrane that culminates in the release of the phagosome. We then explore processes related to early and late stages of phagosome maturation, which requires fusion with endosomes and lysosomes. We end this review by acknowledging that little is known about phagosome fission and even less is known about how phagosomes are resolved after particle digestion.


Apoptotic bodies; Endosomes; Immunity; Lysosomes; Myeloid cells; Pathogen; Phagocytosis; Phagosome maturation; Receptors; Review

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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