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Area of ​​Expertise - Cell biology

Lysosomes are cell organelles surrounded by a simple membrane that play an important role in the breakdown of substances taken up by the cell. They contain a variety of lysosomal enzymes, including proteases, nucleases, lipases and phosphatases, the pH optima of which are adjusted to the acidic pH of about 4.5 to 5 within the lysosomes. Like secretion vesicles, lysosomes are formed on the endoplasmic reticulum and constricted in the distal area of ​​the Golgi apparatus.

These so-called primary lysosomes fuse with endocytosis vesicles. From this fusion arise the secondary lysosomes, in which the hydrolytic breakdown of the various compounds absorbed from the outside by endocytosis takes place. Some intracellular parasites such as Plasmodium (Malaria pathogens) are absorbed into the cell via endocytosis, but can prevent the fusion with a primary lysosome and thus survive.

Lysosomal storage diseases are known which are inherited in a recessive manner. They are caused by dysfunction of lysosomal enzymes, which means that certain substances can no longer be broken down, but instead accumulate in the cytoplasm of vacuoles.

Learning units in which the term is dealt with

Cell structure and cell organelles60 min.

BiochemistryBiological foundationsCell morphology

With the help of illustrations and animations and an extensive literature collection as well as selected links, an introduction to cytology is provided.


Swainsonine is a naturally occurring indolizidine alkaloid with strong pharmacological effects. Sainsonine reversibly inhibits the enzymes α-mannosidase in the lysosome and Golgi-α-mannosidase II of cells, which leads to an accumulation of mannose-rich oligosaccharides in the lysosome of these cells. In grazing animals that eat swainsonine, this can lead to so-called locoism, an induced mannosidosis. & # 916 & # 93