Issue 7, 2012

Endocytosis at the nanoscale


Endocytosis is a fundamental process in which eukaryotic cells internalise molecules and macromolecules via deformation of the membrane and generation of membrane-bound carriers. Functional aspects are not only limited to uptake of nutrients, but also play a primary role in evolutionary conserved processes such as the regulation of plasma membrane protein activity (i.e. signal-transducing receptors, small-molecule transporters and ion channels), cell motility and mitosis. The macromolecular nature of the material transported by endocytosis makes this route one of the most important targets for nanomedicine. Indeed, many nanoparticle formulations have been customised to enter cells through endocytosis and deliver the cargo within the cell. In this critical review, we present an overview of the biology of endocytosis and discuss its implications in cell internalisation of nanoparticles. We discuss how nanoparticle size, shape and surface chemistry can control this process effectively. Finally, we discuss different drug delivery strategies on how to evade lysosomal degradation to promote effective release of the cargo (376 references).

Graphical abstract: Endocytosis at the nanoscale

  • This article is part of the themed collection: Nanomedicine

Article information

Article type
Critical Review
11 Nov 2011
First published
05 Mar 2012

Chem. Soc. Rev., 2012,41, 2718-2739

Endocytosis at the nanoscale

I. Canton and G. Battaglia, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2012, 41, 2718 DOI: 10.1039/C2CS15309B

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