Endosomes: A legitimate platform for the signaling train

Jane E. Murphy, Benjamin E. Padilla, Burcu Hasdemir, Graeme S. Cottrell, Nigel W. Bunnett

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Although long regarded as a conduit for the degradation or recycling of cell surface receptors, the endosomal system is also an essential site of signal transduction. Activated receptors accumulate in endosomes, and certain signaling components are exclusively localized to endosomes. Receptors can continue to transmit signals from endosomes that are different from those that arise from the plasma membrane, resulting in distinct physiological responses. Endosomal signaling is widespread in metazoans and plants, where it transmits signals for diverse receptor families that regulate essential processes including growth, differentiation and survival. Receptor signaling at endosomal membranes is tightly regulated by mechanisms that control agonist availability, receptor coupling to signaling machinery, and the subcellular localization of signaling components. Drugs that target mechanisms that initiate and terminate receptor signaling at the plasma membrane are widespread and effective treatments for disease. Selective disruption of receptor signaling in endosomes, which can be accomplished by targeting endosomal-specific signaling pathways or by selective delivery of drugs to the endosomal network, may provide novel therapies for disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17615-17622
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number42
StatePublished - Oct 20 2009


  • Endocytosis
  • Receptors
  • Signal transduction
  • Trafficking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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