After Golgi Body, it is time to look at a different at yet very, really very important organelle of eukaryotic cells. It is none other than the ‘Lysosome’. Lysosomes are unique just like every other cell organelle in a eukaryotic cell and are designed to perform a specific set of tasks that no other organelle can perform. So, the absence of this organelle will just render the cells useless. In this article on lysosome facts, we are going to answer several questions including:
- What are lysosomes?
- Who discovered lysosomes?
- What are the functions of lysosomes?
- Where are they located in a cell?
- What types of cells have lysosomes?
- What produces the lysosomes?
- Why are lysosomes called ‘Suicidal Bags’ of cells?
Well, we will answer these questions but not in the order in which asked the questions. We will answer the questions as and when they appear in the flow of this article. Sounds good? Let’s start with our list of lysosome facts!
Interesting Lysosome Facts: 1-5 | What
1. Lysosomes are cell organelles. These organelles are membrane-bound. This means that the organelles have a protective membrane covering around them.
2. They are typical to eukaryotic cells. This means that lysosomes cannot be found in prokaryotic cells.
3. Though we say that lysosomes are present only in eukaryotic cells, it must be noted that they are found only and only in animal cells. In plant cells, the counterpart of lysosomes is known as ‘vacuoles’.
4. Here is something really important and interesting. Lysosomes are the only vesicles in cells that have a very specific composition of proteins both in its lumen as well as in its plasma membrane. Put in other words, the plasma membrane as well as the lumen of the Lysosome have a specific structure.
5. Inside these vesicles are enzymes – a lot of them. Actually, Lysosomes have 50+ enzymes (according to Wikipedia, they have 60+ enzymes) inside them. These are all hydrolytic enzymes.
Interesting Lysosome Facts: 6-10 | Functions
6. Wondering what’s hydrolytic enzyme? Well, it is a type of enzyme which engages in hydrolysis of biomolecules. In simpler words, the enzyme uses water to break down the biomolecules to make them even smaller.
7. So, here is the most important function of Lysosomes – they help in breaking down biomolecules. In other words, they help in digesting biomolecules. It is because of this, they are known as the stomach of the cells.
8. They can digest because of the hydrolytic enzymes that are present in the lumen. The pH of the lumen is somewhere between 4.5 and 5.0, which is perfect for these enzymes to act.
9. While degrading polymers of biomolecules is the primary job of Lysosomes, that’s not really the only job. There are many more including energy metabolism, cell signaling, repair of plasma membrane as well as secretion.
10. In case you are thinking that that’s all that Lysosomes do, you stand wrong in your opinion. There’s more. These vesicles are also designed in a way that they work as a system of waste disposal for the cells.