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Int Rev Cytol. 1985;97:47-95.

Cell biology of the asialoglycoprotein receptor system: a model of receptor-mediated endocytosis.


Substantial information about the ASGP-R has accumulated in the 10 years following the initial studies of this receptor by Ashwell and Morell. Many of its biochemical properties, its structure, and its orientation within the plasma membrane are now known. The pathways of ASGP ligand and receptor, with the CURL organelle being a central component, are summarized in Fig. 18. The major pathway of the ligand through the cell, beginning with binding at the cell surface and ending with degradation in lysosomes, has been investigated in detail. Recently, alternate routes of the ligand such as the ligand recycling pathway have been observed. With regard to the itinerary of the receptor, there is now biochemical, kinetic, and morphological evidence to support receptor recycling. The new concept of CURL as an important intracellular organelle has originated from studies of ASGP-R recycling. Its importance in the dissociation and segregation of ligand and receptor as well as in receptor recycling is now evident. In addition, there has been a concurrent investigation of other receptor systems that participate in receptor-mediated endocytosis, providing parallels and contrasts to the ASGP-R of hepatocytes. Many critical issues still exist in the cell biology of the ASGP-R. What are the structural requirements of the receptor for ligand binding and subsequent endocytosis of the receptor-ligand complex? Very little is known about the interactions between the receptor and the lipid bilayer in which it resides. How does the receptor move laterally in the plasma membrane? Are there proteins or glycolipids closely associated with the ASGP-R and, if so, what is their function? What is the mechanism that causes receptor clustering into coated pits? Although the existence of a pathway for ligand recycling has been demonstrated, there are still many issues to be addressed. What signals a particular ligand molecule for recycling? Is it a stochastic process? What is the function of this route of ligand movement? How are the various ligand pathways coordinated and regulated? In addition, there are many unanswered questions regarding the receptor pathway. How does CURL mediate the sorting of ASGP-R from ligand? How are receptors with different destinations (e.g., ASGP-R and IgA receptor) sorted in CURL? What is the mechanism of ASGP-R degradation and how is it regulated? Finally, how does the Golgi function in the ASGP system and what is the relationship between the Golgi and CURL? Future investigation of these issues will require further observations with existing techniques as well as new approaches.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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