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A variation of pinocytosis is called potocytosis    . This process uses a coating protein, called caveolin    , on the cytoplasmic side of the plasma membrane, which performs a similar function to clathrin. The cavities in the plasma membrane that form the vacuoles have membrane receptors and lipid rafts in addition to caveolin. The vacuoles or vesicles formed in caveolae (singular caveola) are smaller than those in pinocytosis. Potocytosis is used to bring small molecules into the cell and to transport these molecules through the cell for their release on the other side of the cell, a process called transcytosis.

Receptor-mediated endocytosis

A targeted variation of endocytosis employs receptor proteins in the plasma membrane that have a specific binding affinity for certain substances ( [link] ).

This illustration shows a part of the plasma membrane that is clathrin-coated on the cytoplasmic side and has receptors on the extracellular side. The receptors bind a substance, then pinch off to form a vesicle.
In receptor-mediated endocytosis, uptake of substances by the cell is targeted to a single type of substance that binds to the receptor on the external surface of the cell membrane. (credit: modification of work by Mariana Ruiz Villareal)

In receptor-mediated endocytosis    , as in phagocytosis, clathrin is attached to the cytoplasmic side of the plasma membrane. If uptake of a compound is dependent on receptor-mediated endocytosis and the process is ineffective, the material will not be removed from the tissue fluids or blood. Instead, it will stay in those fluids and increase in concentration. Some human diseases are caused by the failure of receptor-mediated endocytosis. For example, the form of cholesterol termed low-density lipoprotein or LDL (also referred to as “bad” cholesterol) is removed from the blood by receptor-mediated endocytosis. In the human genetic disease familial hypercholesterolemia, the LDL receptors are defective or missing entirely. People with this condition have life-threatening levels of cholesterol in their blood, because their cells cannot clear LDL particles from their blood.

Although receptor-mediated endocytosis is designed to bring specific substances that are normally found in the extracellular fluid into the cell, other substances may gain entry into the cell at the same site. Flu viruses, diphtheria, and cholera toxin all have sites that cross-react with normal receptor-binding sites and gain entry into cells.

See receptor-mediated endocytosis in action, and click on different parts for a focused animation.

Exocytosis

The reverse process of moving material into a cell is the process of exocytosis. Exocytosis is the opposite of the processes discussed above in that its purpose is to expel material from the cell into the extracellular fluid. Waste material is enveloped in a membrane and fuses with the interior of the plasma membrane. This fusion opens the membranous envelope on the exterior of the cell, and the waste material is expelled into the extracellular space ( [link] ). Other examples of cells releasing molecules via exocytosis include the secretion of proteins of the extracellular matrix and secretion of neurotransmitters into the synaptic cleft by synaptic vesicles.

This illustration shows vesicles fusing with the plasma membrane and releasing their contents to the extracellular fluid.
In exocytosis, vesicles containing substances fuse with the plasma membrane. The contents are then released to the exterior of the cell. (credit: modification of work by Mariana Ruiz Villareal)
Methods of Transport, Energy Requirements, and Types of Material Transported
Transport Method Active/Passive Material Transported
Diffusion Passive Small-molecular weight material
Osmosis Passive Water
Facilitated transport/diffusion Passive Sodium, potassium, calcium, glucose
Primary active transport Active Sodium, potassium, calcium
Secondary active transport Active Amino acids, lactose
Phagocytosis Active Large macromolecules, whole cells, or cellular structures
Pinocytosis and potocytosis Active Small molecules (liquids/water)
Receptor-mediated endocytosis Active Large quantities of macromolecules

Section summary

Active transport methods require the direct use of ATP to fuel the transport. Large particles, such as macromolecules, parts of cells, or whole cells, can be engulfed by other cells in a process called phagocytosis. In phagocytosis, a portion of the membrane invaginates and flows around the particle, eventually pinching off and leaving the particle entirely enclosed by an envelope of plasma membrane. Vesicle contents are broken down by the cell, with the particles either used as food or dispatched. Pinocytosis is a similar process on a smaller scale. The plasma membrane invaginates and pinches off, producing a small envelope of fluid from outside the cell. Pinocytosis imports substances that the cell needs from the extracellular fluid. The cell expels waste in a similar but reverse manner: it pushes a membranous vacuole to the plasma membrane, allowing the vacuole to fuse with the membrane and incorporate itself into the membrane structure, releasing its contents to the exterior.

Questions & Answers

what do you guys understand about evolution?
Kiana Reply
it's a process or analayzing some program
Fahamia
but am not sure if some know plz let share
Fahamia
why are diagrams not available
Evans Reply
How can nucleotide molecules of DNA be constructed?construct a six molecules of DNA?
Julia Reply
describe the breathing mechanism in the body fish.
Jackson Reply
what is genetics.
Jackson
the study of hereditary
Julia
state the importance of biodiversity of organisms in an area?
Chris Reply
what is biology
Adam Reply
Biology is the study of living things.
Patrick
what are some of the branches of biology?
Jackson
anatomy,genetics,parasitology
Evans
what is meosis
Mabatho Reply
did you mean meiosis? meiosis this is the type of cell division where one diploid parent cell produces two daughter cells that are haploid and genetically different from the parent cell.
Patrick
thankyou
Mabatho
I'm struggling to understand genetics
Mabatho
Am also struggling as well
Patrick
nothing comes on a silver platter, you need to put effort in everything you are doing not forgetting God. study as if there is no tomorrow. "Suffer now and enjoy the future"
Patrick
true bro
Patrick
exactly brother
Odhiambo
Glory to God
Patrick
Thanks Pat🙏
Mabatho
you're welcome
Patrick
what's a nervous system
tessy Reply
what's the human brain
tessy
the structure of paramecium
Charity Reply
yes
Sarah
Ho
Nevers
what is endocytosis
Stephen Reply
what is the meaning of adrenocorticotropic
Abigail Reply
adrenocorticotropic is stimulating or acting on the adrenal cortex.
Belinda
ok thanks
Abigail
What is science of biology
Thando Reply
The study 📓 of leaving things
John
how does a parasite benefit from its mode of living?
Abuk Reply
why are the images n diagrams unable to be seen?
Abuk
where are the illustrations
Simon
a parasite gets protection, food, shelter
Anguson
human being
Jackson
what is Alimentary canal?
Princess Reply
what is commenialism
jamex Reply
Do you mean commensalism?,it is a feeding relationship that has to do with two different species feeding, that is one is benefiting and the other is unaffected.
hamidat
commensalism is a feeding relationship that has to do with different species feeding, one is gaining and the other is unaffected.
hamidat

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Source:  OpenStax, Biology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 29, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11448/1.10
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