Lysosomal enzymes sialidase (alpha-neuraminidase), beta-galactosidase, and N-acetylaminogalacto-6-sulfate sulfatase are involved in the catabolism of glycolipids, glycoproteins, and oligosaccharides. Their functional activity in the cell depends on their association in a multienzyme complex with lysosomal carboxypeptidase, cathepsin A. We review the data suggesting that the integrity of the complex plays a crucial role at different stages of biogenesis of lysosomal enzymes, including intracellular sorting and proteolytic processing of their precursors. The complex plays a protective role for all components, extending their half-life in the lysosome from several hours to several days; and for sialidase, the association with cathepsin A is also necessary for the expression of enzymatic activity. The disintegration of the complex due to genetic mutations in its components results in their functional deficiency and causes severe metabolic disorders: sialidosis (mutations in sialidase), GM1-gangliosidosis and Morquio disease type B (mutations in beta-galactosidase), galactosialidosis (mutations in cathepsin A), and Morquio disease type A (mutations in N-acetylaminogalacto-6-sulfate sulfatase). The genetic, biochemical, and direct structural studies described here clarify the molecular pathogenic mechanisms of these disorders and suggest new diagnostic tools.