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Biology > Cell the Unit of Life > What is Lysosome – Definition, Functions, Structure
Cell the Unit of Life

What is Lysosome – Definition, Functions, Structure

Lysosome Definition

Lysosomes are very small cell organelles. They are found in the nucleus-bearing or eukaryotic cells. Furthermore, they are found in the cytosol of the cells. Ones that float freely inside the cells outside the nucleus. Lysosome function is of utmost importance for cells.

Their structure is quite simple. It consists of an outer lysosomal membrane that surrounds an acidic interior fluid. Basically, these are small cell stomachs. The lysosome function is to digest waste and the superfluous cell fragments. Read why Lysosomes are known as Suicide Bags of Cell here.

Lysosome Structure

These organelles are round membrane-bound. They have a single outer lysosomal membrane. This membrane has a speciality. It is of being impermeable to the acidic substances of the lysosome.

In other words, it helps in protecting the rest of the cell.  Protecting from the digestive enzymes present in the membrane. As soon as the acidic pH establishes, it allows the lysosome to digest substances. Like the cell waste substance, the old cell parts, and other debris as well.

lysosome function

Moreover, it contains specific chemicals. Ones that tag with the dismissed components. This helps them in recognizing them as targets.

This, in turn, helps in ensuring that the fragments of the cell, foreign materials as well as the cell debris digests. In addition, saved from the attack on the cell’s healthy parts.

Other than that, the membrane of the lysosome is very useful. It allows the lysosome to ingest or surround the targets. It does so by using some of the hydrolytic enzymes and other chemicals present in it.

This, in turn, enables it to completely dismantle the complex chemical structures. And, form much simpler materials which the cell may re-use.

Lysosome Function

There are many lysosome functions which help in the easy functioning of the body. The major one is to help the cell metabolism. It does by ingestion and dissolving of unwanted cell parts, the cell debris or the foreign materials that might have got inside the cell.

Furthermore, the digestive enzymes that are present in their acidic interior help in breaking down huge structures and molecules into a simpler substance.

Then, they return these products to the cell so it can use it further or dispose of it. Moreover, the synthesis of the lysosomal enzymes occurs in the ER.

The enzymes pass on to the Golgi apparatus where it produces lysosomes. The lysosomes make use of the acid hydrolases from the endoplasmic reticulum. In order to digest complex proteins and organelles that are rendered useless. In short, the lysosomes fundamentally act as the digestive system of the cell.

Importance of Lysosome

The biology of a cell consists of internal processes. Ones which make waste plus other foreign bodies or materials that can intrude in the cell.

A cell must be able to get rid of unwanted substances. This is carried out by the lysosomes. They do so by travelling inside the cell. And, finding material which is to be superfluous.

Further, the acidic interior of the lysosome allows it to break down the molecules. Ones like complex carbohydrates, large proteins, and lipids.

Therefore, the simple molecules which we get after that may be deleted from the cell. Or it can come in use for repairing and maintaining cell structures. For instance, the outer plasma membrane.

When the products of lysosomes expel from the cell, they distribute to the other cells. This helps in signalling the processes. In which the cell carries allowing the other cells to react accordingly.

Solved Question for You

Question– What is the main function of the lysosome?

A. Osmosis

B. Diffusion

C. Respiration

D. Digestion

Answer– The correct answer is option D.

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