Scientists report inhibition of cellular aging

Aging is the deterioration of a cell's ability to divide and grow as it gets older. This causes degradation of the body and age-related diseases. Prevention of aging is an instinctive desire of humans; thus, it is a task ...

Long live Nemo! New animal model in aging research?

The colorful Clownfish lives longer than 20 years in the aquarium. Researchers of the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, Italy, in collaboration with the Leibniz Institute on Aging (FLI) in Jena, Germany, have investigated ...

Lyosomes and mitochondria chat each other up in cell

Northwestern Medicine scientists have discovered that two key cellular structures, called mitochondria and lysosomes, come into direct contact with each other in the cell to regulate their respective functions. This rare ...

'Cell surgery' using nano-beams

Using a simple glass capillary, atomic physicists at RIKEN are developing an ultra-narrow ion beam that pinpoints a part of organelles in a living cell, enabling biologists to visualize how the damage affects cell activities.

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Lysosomes are cellular organelles that contain acid hydrolase enzymes to break down waste materials and cellular debris. They are found in animal cells, while in yeast and plants the same roles are performed by lytic vacuoles. Lysosomes digest excess or worn-out organelles, food particles, and engulf viruses or bacteria. The membrane around a lysosome allows the digestive enzymes to work at the 4.5 pH they require. Lysosomes fuse with vacuoles and dispense their enzymes into the vacuoles, digesting their contents. They are created by the addition of hydrolytic enzymes to early endosomes from the Golgi apparatus. The name lysosome derives from the Greek words lysis, to separate, and soma, body. They are frequently nicknamed "suicide-bags" or "suicide-sacs" by cell biologists due to their role in autolysis. Lysosomes were discovered by the Belgian cytologist Christian de Duve in the 1960s.

The size of lysosomes varies from 0.1–1.2 μm. At pH 4.8, the interior of the lysosomes is acidic compared to the slightly alkaline cytosol (pH 7.2). The lysosome maintains this pH differential by pumping protons (H+ ions) from the cytosol across the membrane via proton pumps and chloride ion channels. The lysosomal membrane protects the cytosol, and therefore the rest of the cell, from the degradative enzymes within the lysosome. The cell is additionally protected from any lysosomal acid hydrolases that drain into the cytosol, as these enzymes aren't pH-sensitive and function as well in the alkaline environment of the cytosol.

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