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Lysosomes and Viruses

  1. Apr 8, 2014 #1
    Lysosomes help to clean up dead organelles and intruders like viruses. So, can't they be used to produce anti virals?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 8, 2014 #2


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    Lysosomes are intracellular organelles containing an acidic environment and a variety of enzymes. They're considered the "recycling bins" of the cell in that they break down waste materials and damaged components. In terms of viruses as far as I'm aware they only break down viruses that have entered the cell via endocytosis, most haven't so at best they slow infection:

    Inhibition of lysosome and proteasome function enhances human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection.

    If you were to just inject lysosomes you'd probably cause a lot of damage. If they aren't regulated they could uptake all sorts of things you don't necessarily want to and outside the environment of the cell they aren't going to be maintained, they'd probably leak with time releasing damaging factors. They are a target for therapy but for different reasons

    The lysosome: from waste bag to potential therapeutic target
  4. Apr 8, 2014 #3
    Thank you so much! It really helped. Best answer ever. But if the question is yes/no type, what would you say?
  5. Apr 8, 2014 #4


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    Is this homework?
  6. Apr 8, 2014 #5
    No, this isn't. It's my own question. My teacher didn't answer when I asked her. And I didn't find satisfactory answer anywhere else. Neither on internet nor in books.
  7. Apr 10, 2014 #6


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    It's rare anything in biology can be shortened to yes/no and doing so is often unnecessarily restrictive. Having said that I would answer no, the processes by which viruses are broken down would not seem to be a good way to produce antivirals. A potential target may be uptake of viruses by the lysosome but that isn't the same thing.
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