Define phagocytosis and pinocytosis. Give examples of each process.

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Phagocytosis is commonly called “cell eating”, whereas pinocytosis is commonly known as “cell drinking”.

During phagocytosis, cells engulf solid particle by surrounding the solid substance with a vesicle that is called a phagosome. The phagosome is then brought into the cell and its contents are utilized for energy. Phagocytes are organisms that undergo phagocytosis. Examples of phagocytes are some protists, such as amoebas, and white blood cells.

Pinocytosis is similar to phagocytosis, except the material that is being ingested by a cell is a liquid instead of a solid. Again, the liquid is surrounded by an invagination of a cell’s membrane. The invagination then pinches off to form a vesicle that is brought within the cell.  Body cells take in enzymes and hormones via the process of pinocytosis. Cells that have microvilli that are found along the intestinal wall also undergo pinocytosis in order to intake nutrients.

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