The lysosome as a command-and-control center for cellular metabolism

J Cell Biol. 2016 Sep 12;214(6):653-64. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201607005.


Lysosomes are membrane-bound organelles found in every eukaryotic cell. They are widely known as terminal catabolic stations that rid cells of waste products and scavenge metabolic building blocks that sustain essential biosynthetic reactions during starvation. In recent years, this classical view has been dramatically expanded by the discovery of new roles of the lysosome in nutrient sensing, transcriptional regulation, and metabolic homeostasis. These discoveries have elevated the lysosome to a decision-making center involved in the control of cellular growth and survival. Here we review these recently discovered properties of the lysosome, with a focus on how lysosomal signaling pathways respond to external and internal cues and how they ultimately enable metabolic homeostasis and cellular adaptation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Amino Acids / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Lysosomes / metabolism*
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1
  • Monomeric GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Multiprotein Complexes / metabolism
  • Neuropeptides / metabolism
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase / metabolism
  • Ras Homolog Enriched in Brain Protein
  • Signal Transduction
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Amino Acids
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Neuropeptides
  • RHEB protein, human
  • Ras Homolog Enriched in Brain Protein
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Monomeric GTP-Binding Proteins