10 Characteristics Of Lysosomes


Lysosomes are membranous structures that contain enzymes inside them. These enzymes are responsible for digesting material that is inside and outside the cell. In other words they are the stomach of the cells.

Characteristics Of Lysosomes

1. Origin

The lysosomes originate in the Golgi apparatus. This device has the function of transporting the enzymes inside the cell.

10 Characteristics Of Lysosomes

2. Enzymatic composition

Within the lysosomes, there are some enzymes such as:

Lipases, whose function is to digest liquid substances.
Glucosidases, which are responsible for breaking down and digesting carbohydrates.
Porteases, which digest proteins.
Nucleases, which are responsible for nucleic acids.


3. Appearance

When inactive, lysosomes have a grainy appearance. When activated, they take on a vesicular appearance and vary in size. Each lysosome can contain around 40 hydrolytic enzymes.

The size of the lysosomes is between 0.1 and 1.2 μm, and they have a spherical structure.

4. Type of PH

Lysosomes contain an acid pH of between 4.6 and 5.0. This is the main condition for the enzymes to activate within the lysosomes.

5. Lysosomal membrane

The lysosomes are covered by a simple membrane (called lysosomal membrane) that has the purpose of preventing these enzymes from dispersing through the cytoplasm and destroying the entire cell, a process known as autolysis.

In addition, the lysosomal membrane is responsible for allowing the entry of substrates into the lysosome.

10 Characteristics Of Lysosomes

6. Functions

The function of lysosomes in the cell is to help it digest both substances outside the cell as well as digest substances that it no longer needs from inside it. They metabolize fats, proteins and nucleic acids. Internal digestion refers to a part of the cell that is damaged or damaged and needs to be degraded. Then they are replaced by other new cells.


In addition, when the cell is attacked by bacteria (organisms outside the cell) lysosomes act as a defense mechanism by digesting said bacteria and activating the immune system.

7. Types of enzymes

There are two types of enzymes that make up lysosomes.

Primary enzymes: They consist only of hydrolase enzymes and do not contain other vesicles. They have not participated in the digestion yet.
Secondary enzymes (or of cellular digestion): It is the combination of primary enzymes with other vesicles. Specifically, these enzymes are responsible for digesting or “cleaning” the cells.
Depending on the origin of the material, it can be differentiated between:

Vacuoles (or endosomes) Heterophageal. They are the enzymes that are responsible for attacking (or digesting) the external material to the cell.
Vacuoles (or endosomes) autophagic. The substances that will have to be digested come from the internal environment of the cell.

8. Presence in organisms

They are present in all the cells of animals. The presence of lysosomes in plant organisms has not been detected.

10 Characteristics Of Lysosomes

9. Lysosomal diseases

The diseases are caused by the uncontrolled release of the enzymes outside the cell or by a dysfunction by the lysosomes.

There are many diseases related to these enzymes but the most common diseases related are gout and rheumatoid arthritis.

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