Does any cell have lysosomes in it? Or maybe there are other organelles that do the same function. I read about it a lot and I can't find a good answer.
closed as off-topic by MattDMo, March Ho, James, anongoodnurse, AliceD♦ Dec 13 '15 at 8:33
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The function of a lysosome is to essentially digest and break down molecules (often compared to the stomach of the cell).
For example, a cell with high proportions of lysosomes would be a macrophage, as its function is to neutralize pathogens. After the pathogen is engulfed by the macrophage, the vesicle formed, called a phagosome, fuses with a lysosome, and the lysosome's digestive enzymes work on breaking down the pathogen into harmless bits and pieces.
In most cells, however, lysosomes also function to recycle the cell's own components, called autophagy. Damaged organelles are broken down by the lysosome and recycled.
So, yes, there are many cells that do have lysosomes.
The importance of the lysosome is shown when there is a malfunction in the lysosome. These diseases, called lysosomal storage diseases, occur when the lysosome does not function properly and the cell eventually is impaired by the buildup of a molecule that should have been broken down by the lysosome (e.g. Tay-Sachs disease).
The AP Biology textbook
- Campbell Biology 7th Edition, Chapter 6 - "Lysosomes: Digestive Compartments", although this is pretty much the same in any edition of this textbook
- Campbell Biology in Focus, Chapter 4 - "Lysosomes: Digestive Compartments"