Lysosomes are membrane-bound organelles, which contain an arsenal of different hydrolases, enabling them to act as the terminal degradative compartment of the endocytotic, phagocytic and autophagic pathways. During the last decade, it was convincingly shown that destabilization of lysosomal membrane and release of lysosomal content into the cytosol can initiate the lysosomal apoptotic pathway, which is dependent on mitochondria destabilization. The cleavage of BID to t-BID and degradation of anti-apoptotic BCL-2 proteins by lysosomal cysteine cathepsins were identified as links to the mitochondrial cytochrome c release, which eventually leads to caspase activation. There have also been reports about the involvement of lysosome destabilization and lysosomal proteases in the extrinsic apoptotic pathway, although the molecular mechanism is still under debate. In the present article, we discuss the cross-talk between lysosomes and mitochondria during apoptosis and its consequences for the fate of the cell.
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