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Duve, Christian (René) de

lysosomes cell lysosome attack

[düv] (1917– ) Belgian biochemist: discovered lysosomes.

Born in England and educated in medicine in Louvain, de Duve worked in Sweden and the USA before returning to Louvain in 1947 and later holding a dual post also at Rockefeller University, New York.

From 1949, de Duve obtained ingenious experimental evidence that some at least of a cell’s digestive enzymes must be enclosed in small organelles within the cell. By 1955 these were positively identified with the aid of electron microscopy and named lysosomes. These serve both to isolate the enzymes from attack on their own animal or plant cells and to concentrate their attack when the lysosome fuses with a food vacuole. After digesting the macromolecules present in the food, the resulting small molecules of sugar or amino acid pass through the lysosome wall into the cell. Another function of lysosomes is to destroy worn-out cell organelles, or even cells. Some hereditary metabolic diseases (eg cystinosis) are due to absence of a lysosomal enzyme. De Duve shared a Nobel Prize in 1974.

Dwight, Edward(1933–) - Chronology, Transferred to Germany, Becomes a Sculptor [next] [back] Dutton, Charles (1951–)

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