Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Better Together

Understanding more about lysosomes – the 'recycling centres' – of cells and their role in disease

22 November 2019

Better Together

Like any well-functioning society, cells have their own recycling centres, known as lysosomes. These little compartments are packed with harsh chemicals that break down unwanted large molecules into smaller components that can then be transported elsewhere in the cell and turned back into useful new materials. However, little is known about the components of lysosomes themselves, or how molecules are transported in and out of them. Researchers have now genetically engineered mice that lack a protein known to be important for lysosome transportation, called MFSD1 (stained green in this image of a mouse cell). These animals develop liver damage and cancer later in life, highlighting the importance of functioning lysosomes for health. MFSD1 is found specifically in lysosomes (stained red) and works together with another molecule called GLMP. By figuring out how these two proteins buddy up, researchers hope to understand more about liver disease and even discover new treatments.

Written by Kat Arney

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