Are There Lysosomes in Plants?


Quick Answer

Traditionally, lysosomes were thought to exist only in animal cells, but contemporary biologists and botanists have found lysosomes in some plants. However, whether these plant organelles are truly considered lysosomes is still under debate.

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Full Answer

Lysosomes are organelles within animal cells which store enzymes that can break down unwanted materials such as proteins, lipids and nucleic acids. Plants have a similar system, traditionally referred to as "vacuoles" and thought of more as storage. However, recent study of plant vacuoles have shown that many of them contain a similar enzymatic makeup to animal cell lysosomes and fulfill similar functions, such as autophagy, the breaking down of unwanted cellular components.

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