Difference Between Lysosomes and Ribosomes

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A cell requires various compartments to carry out a variety of functions that are required not only for the cell's operation but also for the organism as a whole, especially in multicellular organisms. There are two specialised centres among the many different compartments known as cell organelles, one for production and the other for degradation. They are known as ribosomes and lysosomes, and they are in charge of protein production and protein degradation, respectively. Thus, lysosomes and ribosomes are two distinct cell organelles that perform very different functions and have very different physiological characteristics.


Lysosomes are the organelles in charge of breaking down various types of biological molecules, whereas ribosomes are macromolecular machines in charge of protein synthesis. Lysosomes are membrane-bound organelles, whereas ribosomes do not have a membrane. So, despite the fact that they are both cell organelles, there is a significant difference between lysosomes and ribosomes. 


Following that, a brief description of lysosomes and ribosomes is provided in this article.



Lysosomes are membrane-bound organelles that break down biomolecules like nucleic acids, peptides, carbohydrates, and lipids. This type of vesicle contains many hydrolytic enzymes that break down molecules. Lysosomes are the cell's waste disposal system. They do this by digesting cytoplasmic biomolecules via autophagy or endocytosis, depending on their origin. 


A lysosome has a membrane and lumenal proteins. The lysosome lumen provides an acidic pH 4.5-5.0 environment for protein hydrolysis and maintenance, which is not possible in the cytoplasm. Thus, this effectively prevents cytoplasmic degradation of functional proteins. Mannose-6-phosphate specifically tags molecules bound to lysosomes so they end up in acidic vesicles bound to lysosomes. 



The molecular machinery responsible for protein synthesis is the ribosome. As a result, this is where the cell's proteins are made. Due to this, ribosomes and other translational apparatus are referred to as translational machinery. They can be found in the cytoplasm or attached to the endoplasmic reticulum. 


Despite the fact that lysosomes and ribosomes are both cell organelles, the ribosomes are made up of protein subunits that form the ribosomal complex when combined. The ribosomal subunits are made up of ribosomal RNA molecules and ribosomal proteins in each of the two subunits. This is because ribosomes use messenger RNA codons to link amino acids together. It's important to note that ribosomes are found in all cells, unlike lysosomes. 


The difference between lysosomes and ribosomes can be summarized as below:


Difference between Lysosomes and Ribosomes



They are membrane-bound organelles.

They are large protein complexes made up of two protein subunits.

They are found mostly in animal cells. Plant cells may have lysosomes but they are not one of the major organelles in them and are not as important as in the case of animal cells.

They are found in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes.

They generally have a size ranging in micrometres.

They typically are 20 nm - 30 nm in size.

They are found floating around in the cytoplasm. 

They are either freely floating in the cytoplasm or are attached to the endoplasmic reticulum.

They are the waste degradation centres of the cell. 

They are the protein production centres of the cell.

They consist of hydrolytic enzymes that break down molecules such as peptides, proteins, nucleic acids, and lipids.

They consist of ribosomal RNA and ribosomal proteins that help in synthesizing proteins from the messenger RNA.


As you go through the given diagram the difference between lysosomes and ribosomes will be quite evident. The diagram is as follows:


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Thus, there is a significant difference between lysosomes and ribosomes both in terms of their function and their structure. Despite the difference between lysosomes and ribosomes, each one of them is vital for the proper functioning of a eukaryotic cell, especially an animal cell. 

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Summarize the difference between lysosomes and ribosomes. 

Lysosomes are membrane-bound cell organelles found mostly in eukaryotic animal cells. They act as a waste disposal system by degrading various biomolecules using hydrolytic enzymes found in a variety of bacteria. Ribosomes, on the other hand, are the cell's protein-producing macromolecular machinery that is responsible for protein synthesis from messenger RNA and is thus known as the translational apparatus. 

2. Are lysosomes a product of ribosomes? Explain. 

Ribosomes are responsible for the cell's protein-making machinery. They are in charge of producing proteins that are used by various organelles within the cell. As a result, it is safe to assume that ribosomes are responsible for the production of hydrolytic proteins found in the cell's lysosomes. They do not, however, produce or build the entire cell organelle - the lysosomes - on their own. As a result, as previously stated, the lysozymes found in lysosomes are produced by ribosomes rather than the lysosome itself.

3. Is ribosome bigger than lysosome?

The one characteristic difference between lysosomes and ribosomes is that the lysosomes are membrane-bound cell organelles whereas ribosomes are large protein complexes made up of two protein subunits. This is also reflected in the difference in the size of the lysosomes and ribosomes. The lysosomes are generally 0.1 μm and the ribosomes are generally 20-30 nm in diameter. Hence, the ribosomes are not bigger than the lysosomes.