Endocytic uptake and intracellular transport of acidic FGF was studied in cells transfected with FGF receptor 4 (FGFR4). Acidification of the cytosol to block endocytic uptake from coated pits did not inhibit endocytosis of the growth factor in COS cells transfected with FGFR4, indicating that it is to a large extent taken up by an alternative endocytic pathway. Fractionation of the cells demonstrated that part of the growth factor receptor was present in a low-density, caveolin-containing fraction, but we were unable to demonstrate binding to caveolin in immunoprecipitation studies. Upon treatment of the cells with acidic FGF, the activated receptor, together with the growth factor, moved to a juxtanuclear compartment, which was identified as the recycling endosome compartment. When the cells were lysed with Triton X-100, 3-([3-chloramidopropyl]dimethylammonio)-2-hydroxy-1-propanesulfona te, or 2-octyl glucoside, almost all surface-exposed and endocytosed FGFR4 was solubilized, but only a minor fraction of the total FGFR4 in the cells was found in the soluble fraction. The data indicate that the major part of FGFR4 is anchored to detergent-insoluble structures, presumably cytoskeletal elements associated with the recycling endosome compartment.