The plasma membrane is the interface between cells and their harsh environment. Uptake of nutrients and all communication among cells and between cells and their environment occurs through this interface. 'Endocytosis' encompasses several diverse mechanisms by which cells internalize macromolecules and particles into transport vesicles derived from the plasma membrane. It controls entry into the cell and has a crucial role in development, the immune response, neurotransmission, intercellular communication, signal transduction, and cellular and organismal homeostasis. As the complexity of molecular interactions governing endocytosis are revealed, it has become increasingly clear that it is tightly coordinated and coupled with overall cell physiology and thus, must be viewed in a broader context than simple vesicular trafficking.
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