Lysosomes are membrane-bound organelles containing digestive enzymes that can break down proteins, lipids, carbohydrates and nucleic acids. Lysosomes can vary in size and shape, and function to break down food particles, destroy bacteria and viruses that enter the cell, and to recycle cellular components as organelles age. Lysosomes contain dozens of different kinds of hydrolytic enzymes, which are active at the acidic pH maintained by proton pumps found in lysosomal membranes.
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