membrane recycling

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The process whereby membrane is constantly being internalized, fused with an internal membranous compartment, and then reincorporated into the plasma membrane. In exocrine secretion the mechanism allows retrieval of the membrane that surrounded the secreted material prior to fusion; not only is this energy-efficient recycling, but it prevents the cell surface from continuing to expand in area. Phagocytic cells have the opposite need, replenishment of the surface membrane used to surround phagocytosed material.

Subjects: Medicine and Health.

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