What are the main functions of a Lysosome in a cell and why is it important to the cell?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Cells contain organelles that help maintain homeostasis and for carrying out life functions. A lysosome contains hydrolase enzymes capable of breaking down wastes and old cells. They are found in animal cells. Lysosomes sometimes get the nickname "suicide sac" as their enzymes digest worn out cells and organelles and can also...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Cells contain organelles that help maintain homeostasis and for carrying out life functions. A lysosome contains hydrolase enzymes capable of breaking down wastes and old cells. They are found in animal cells. Lysosomes sometimes get the nickname "suicide sac" as their enzymes digest worn out cells and organelles and can also digest food that is in a food vacuole. The enzymes in a lysosome are acidic. Lysosomes were discovered by Christian de Duve in the 1960's--a cell biologist. Lysosomes contain membranes which enclose their enzymes, thus this protects the rest of the cell. Enzymes in the lysosome include lipases, amylases, proteases, nucleases which basically can act on such targets as fats, carbohydrates, proteins, nucleic acids. Lysosomes can be thought of as a waste disposal system for the cell.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team