Movement In Vesicles

Some substances, such as macromolecules and nutrients, are too large to pass through the cell membrane by the transport processes you have studied so far. Cells employ two other transport mechanisms—endocytosis and exocytosis—to move such substances into or out of cells. Endocytosis and exocytosis are also used to transport large quantities of small molecules into or out of cells at a single time. Both endocytosis and exocytosis require cells to expend energy. Therefore, they are types of active transport.


Endocytosis (EN-doh-sie-TOH-sis) is the process by which cells ingest external fluid, macromolecules, and large particles, including other cells. As you can see in Figure 5-7, these external materials are enclosed by a portion of the cell's membrane, which folds into itself and forms a pouch. The pouch then pinches off from the cell membrane and becomes a membrane-bound organelle called a vesicle. Some of the vesicles fuse with lysosomes, and their contents are digested by lysosomal enzymes. Other vesicles that form during endocytosis fuse with other membrane-bound organelles.

Two main types of endocytosis are based on the kind of material that is taken into the cell: pinocytosis (PlEN-oh-sie-TOH-sis) involves the transport of solutes or fluids, and phagocytosis (FAG-oh-sie-TOH-sis) is the movement of large particles or whole cells. Many unicellular organisms feed by phagocytosis. In addition, certain cells in animals use phagocytosis to ingest bacteria and viruses that invade the body. These cells, known as phagocytes, allow lysosomes to fuse with the vesicles that contain the ingested bacteria and viruses. Lysosomal enzymes then destroy the bacteria and viruses before they can harm the animal.

□ lntenn*tcavttd Topic: Endocytosis Keyword: HM60505


Maintained by the National Science I. Teachen Association

Word Roots and Origins vesicle from the Latin vesicula, meaning "bladder" or "sac"

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