Endocytosis in health and disease — a thematic issue dedicated to Renate Fuchs
Endocytosis is the process of internalization of extracellular material. Endocytic pathways include clathrin-dependent uptake, caveolae-dependent uptake, macropinocytosis, and phagocytosis. Endocytosis enables uptake of nutrients and helps to control the composition of the plasma membrane. The process is important for the regulation of major cellular functions such as antigen presentation or intracellular signaling cascades. Moreover, it is required to remove aged and dead cells from the body and is part of the defense against microbes. Of importance, perturbation of endocytosis has been reported in numerous human diseases including cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes mellitus, and cardiovascular disease, to name but a few. Finally, endocytosis represents an important cellular route for delivery of therapeutic substances. Due to this functional diversity, endocytosis is a very active research area. At the moment, almost 100,000 published articles are retrieved by PubMed upon entry of the term “endocytosis” and, over the years, many researches have contributed to our understanding of endocytic pathways.