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Form of endocytosis where it is extracellular fluid explicitly that is being taken up by a cell.
Pinocytosis is a means by which the absorptive surface area (membrane) of a cell can be substantially increased to take in soluble nutrients. That is, rather than being limited to the plasma membrane for such transport, following pinocytosis the resulting vesicles too can supply membrane across which nutrient absorption takes place.
Pinocytosis plays a key role in the feeding of developing ova, which otherwise suffer from severe surface-to-volume ratio problems being that they are such large as well as spherical cells. The solution to this problem, as noted, is to have nutrient absorption occur from multiple vesicles rather than a single surface, hence the use of pinocytosis.
Pinicytosis can also play roles in animal cell uptake of viruses.
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