Cellular Waste Removal Differs According to Cell Type
Published:13 Sep.2023    Source:University of Bonn
Lysosomes are a central part of the cell's waste disposal system. The tiny bubbles, surrounded by a fat-like membrane, function like a miniature recycling factory: They break down defective cell components, harmful molecules, or proteins that are no longer needed into their individual parts. They then make these available to the cell again. The process is extremely important.
Lysosomes have a very complex structure. Several hundred proteins are now known to play a role in their function. There could even be significantly more: When lysosomes are isolated from cells and their composition is analyzed with special equipment, researchers often find more than 5,000 different cellular proteins. The researchers have developed a method that allows them to identify a large proportion of these uninvolved molecules. Of the 5,000 proteins typically found using conventional methods, this left around 1,000. Several hundred of these 1,000 proteins were present in almost all lysosomes -- no matter which tissue they originated from. These included about 100 new lysosomal proteins in addition to those already known. It is likely that these also play an important role in the function of the nano-shredders.
What differed from cell type to cell type was the quantity in which each of these proteins was present. In each of the six cell types the research team studied, the lysosomes have a very specific protein makeup. "We can now take a kind of protein fingerprint of these lysosomes and compare it to that of healthy individuals," Winter explains.