AAT Bioquest

What are the differences between lysosomes and endosomes?

Posted October 2, 2023



  • Lysosomes are organelles that contain about 40 different types of degradative hydrolytic enzymes including phosphatases, lipases, nucleases, glycosidases, proteases, phospholipases, and sulfatases.
  • Lysosomes fuse with endosomes allowing degradative lysosomal enzymes to assist in the digestion of materials inside the endosome. 
  • 3 types of lysosomes: endolysosome, phagolysosome, and autophagolysosome.


  • Endosomes are vesicles that enclose solid extracellular materials and pathogens internalized during endocytosis. 
  • In addition to the internalized material, endosomes also contain nutrients. 
  • Endosomes store internalized materials until they are completely digested.
  • Their primary function involves internal sorting. 
  • 3 types: early endosome, late endosome, and recycling endosome.
Additional resources

Endosomes, lysosomes, and the role of endosomal and lysosomal biogenesis in cancer development