Cell biology is a continuing saga of controversy, speculation and progress. Having adopted a strategy of divide and conquer, the researchers of the 1940s and 50s were faced with the task of defining the cell fractions the new techniques had produced. Amidst controversies that seem strange in retrospect (e.g. whether mitochondria originated from microsomes or vice versa!) a new organelle was discovered—the lysosome (figure 7.1). The discovery was made in 1955 by de Duve who observed that the activity of acid hydrolases in animal tissue homogenates increased with time, and proposed that these enzymes were present inside vesicles that became leaky with age. In face of arguments that the enzymes had probably leaked out of damaged mitochondria, de Duve maintained that a new organelle was involved, which he named the lysdkdme to indicate that the internal enzymes only became apparent when the membrane was lysed. For this and a brilliant series of experiments on lysosomes, de Duve shared the 1974 Nobel Prize for Physiology with Palade, of endoplasmic reticulum fame, and Claude, another cell biology pioneer.
KeywordsLysosomal Enzyme Lysosome Membrane Lysosomal Storage Disease Coated Vesicle Acid Hydro Lases
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