Receptor Models of Phagocytosis: The Effect of Target Shape

  • David M. RichardsEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1246)


Phagocytosis is a remarkably complex process, requiring simultaneous organisation of the cell membrane, the cytoskeleton, receptors and various signalling molecules. As can often be the case, mathematical modelling is able to penetrate some of this complexity, identifying the key biophysical components and generating understanding that would take far longer with a purely experimental approach. This chapter will review a particularly important class of phagocytosis model, championed in recent years, that primarily focuses on the role of receptors during the engulfment process. These models are pertinent to a host of unsolved questions in the subject, including the rate of cup growth during uptake, the role of both intra- and extracellular noise, and the precise differences between phagocytosis and other forms of endocytosis. In particular, this chapter will focus on the effect of target shape and orientation, including how these influence the rate and final outcome of phagocytic engulfment.


Mathematical modelling Computer simulation Receptors Target shape dependence 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Living Systems InstituteUniversity of ExeterExeterUK

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