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Figure 1.12 Uptake of particles and solutes by cytosis fluid to enter the cell. This is called pinocytosis. More commonly the process is triggered by the binding of a particular macromolecule to a surface receptor on the membrane, a process termed receptor-mediated endocytosis.

Phagocytosis occurs when a particle is taken inside a cell. The most important example of this occurs when a white blood cell called a macrophage engulfs a foreign body such as a bacterium or virus. The foreign body first adheres to the cell membrane, which then gradually extends over it until it is internalized to form a vacuole within the cell. This then normally fuses with lysosomes and is degraded. The vacuoles formed in this process are much larger than those involved in endocytosis.

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