Endocytosis vs Exocytosis (Similarities and Differences)

Endocytosis and Exocytosis (Endocytosis vs Exocytosis)

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Similarities of Endocytosis and Exocytosis

  1. Endocytosis and exocytosis mechanisms are forms of Active Transport, both using energy to transport particles in and out of the cell.
  2. They both have different types similar in that they both transport materials across the cell membrane by forming vesicle pores.

Differences between Endocytosis and Exocytosis

Characteristic Endocytosis Exocytosis


Endocytosis is a cellular mechanism where a cell internalizes substances from the external environment. These substances undergo certain processes of breaking down to smaller elements either for use by the cell or for elimination purposes.Exocytosis is a process that is used to transport materials from inside the cell to the external part of the cell by the use of energy. The mechanism uses special vesicles fille with the particles of interest to transport Generally, in this mechanism of exocytosis,  a special vesicle bound to the cell membrane, containing the cellular particles will expel the cell content to the external part of the cell.


There are three types based on the mechanisms of particle. They include:
  • PhagocytosisPinocytosisReceptor-mediated endocytosis (Clathrin-mediated endocytosis)
There are also 3 types depending on the sequence of processes involved in transporting particles out of the cell. They include:
  • Constructive ExocytosisRegulated exocytosisLysosome mediated Exocytosis


Being a form of active transport, they use some energy (ATP) during particle transportation.It is a type of active transport, using a lot of energy (ATP) for transporting particles out of the cell.


Endocytic mechanisms are used to:
  • Breakdown and eliminate microbial antigens using phagocytic cells
  • Protozoans such as amoeba use phagocytosis to trap and digest nutrients (food)
  • Uptake and absorption of nutrients through intestinal villi in the small intestines
  • Transportation of iron-transferrins in receptor-mediated endocytosis
  • To absorb cholesterol that is bound to ‘bad cholesterol’ (Low-density lipoproteins) in receptor-mediated endocytosis
Exocytosis is known for its functions in:
  • Transportation of proteins and lipids use to repair the cell membrane after endocytosis
  • Transportation of glucagon and insulin hormones from the pancreas to the liver for breakdown and utilization by the body depending on body sugar levels.
  • Transportation of chemical signals between cells allowing cell communication
  • It is also important in synaptic transmission of information in the neurons

References and Sources

  • https://microbenotes.com/endocytosis-definition-process-and-types-with-examples/
  • https://microbenotes.com/exocytosis-definition-process-and-types-with-examples/
  • https://socratic.org/biology/movement-in-and-out-of-cells/transport-across-the-cell-membranes
  • https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-exocytosis-4114427
  • https://quizlet.com/333668107/active-transport-flash-cards/
  • https://pediaa.com/difference-between-endocytosis-and-exocytosis/

About Author

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Faith Mokobi

Faith Mokobi is a passionate scientist and graduate student currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Nanoengineering (Synthetic Biology specialization) from Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, North Carolina A and T State University, North Carolina, USA. She has a background in Immunology and Microbiology (MSc./BSc.). With extensive higher education teaching and research experience in Biomedical studies, metagenomic studies, and drug resistance, Faith is currently integrating her Biomedical experience in nanotechnology and cancer theranostics.

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