Lysosome Information


            Basic Facts:   

·        Lysosomes are basically sacs containing digestive enzymes.

·        Lysosomes are used by the cell to digest or breakdown multifaceted organic molecules.

o       Theses include proteins, fats, polysaccharides, and nucleic acids.

·        The name lysosome comes from the words “Lys”, which means breakdown or digest, and “Some”, which means body.  Therefore the verbatim translation is "digesting body".


Structure & Function:


·        LysosomeLysosomes are enclosed in a single-walled membrane to protect the cell from the harsh digestive enzymes with the lysosome.

·        Lysosomes create an area where macromolecules can be safely digested

·        The enzymes are used to digest many of the organic molecules found in the body.

o       Lysosomes also play a key role in destroying old organelles within the cell and thus allow them to be replaced with fresher, more effective ones.

§         This has lead to them being called “suicide bags”.

§         An example of such a phenomena is a tadpole losing                                    its tails when it becomes a frog.




More Structure & Function:

·        When a cell digests organic compounds, the lysosome membrane fuses with the membrane of a food vacuole and secretes the enzymes inside. The digested food then diffuses through the plasma membrane and enters the cell, through the cytosol.

·         These particles are then used for energy or growth. The only thing that keeps the cell itself from being digested is the membrane surrounding the lysosome, although it is unclear why the membrane is not digested.

·        Lysomes can also fuse with other organelles within the cytoplasm in order to recycle them.






·        Lysosomes originate within the Golgi apparatus

·        The digestive enzymes found in the lysosome are manufactured in the rough endoplasmic reticulum of the cell and transported to the Gogli apparatus where lysosmes are created.









·        Diseases related to the lysome are called lysosomal storage disorders

·        Genetic problems where the lack of specific acid enzyme creates a build-up of molecules that would normally be digested by the lysosomes within the cell

·        This buildup can lead to organ and nervous system failures

·        Numerous forms of these disorders exist and they include:

§         Acid Maltase Deficiency (Lysosomal Glycogen Storage Disease)

§         Gaucher's Disease – Lack of a lipid (fat) called hexosaminidase

§         Tay-Sachs Disease – Lack of the enzyme glucocerebrosidase