• (noun): Biochemistry The dissolution or destruction of cells, such as blood cells or bacteria, as by the action of a specific lysin that disrupts the cell membrane.
  • (noun): Medicine The gradual subsiding of the symptoms of an acute disease.

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Wordnet definitions

  • (noun): (biochemistry) dissolution or destruction of cells such as blood cells or bacteria
  • (noun): recuperation in which the symptoms of an acute disease gradually subside

Look up "lysis" to find its meanings and associations with other words and concepts


Lysis ( LY-sis; Greek λύσις lýsis, \"a loosing\" from λύειν lýein, \"to unbind\") refers to the breaking down of the membrane of a cell, often by viral, enzymic, or osmotic (that is, \"lytic\" LIT-ək) mechanisms that compromise its integrity. A fluid containing the contents of lysed cells is called a lysate. In molecular biology, biochemistry, and cell biology laboratories, cell cultures may be subjected to lysis in the process of purifying their components, as in protein purification, DNA extraction, RNA extraction, or in purifying organelles.
Many species of bacteria are subject to lysis by the enzyme lysozyme, found in animal saliva, egg white, and other secretions. Phage lytic enzymes (lysins) produced during bacteriophage infection are responsible for the ability of these viruses to lyse bacterial cells. Penicillin and related β-lactam antibiotics cause the death of bacteria through enzyme-mediated lysis that occurs after the drug causes the bacterium to form a defective cell wall. If the cell wall is completely lost, the bacterium is referred as a protoplast if penicillin was used on gram-positive bacteria, and spheroplast when used on gram-negative bacteria.

Example Sentences

  • Lysostaphin works by first attaching itself to the bacterial cell wall and then slicing open the cell wall (the enzyme's name derives from the Greek "lysis" meaning "to loosen or release").

  • To study viral infections, Weitz teamed with postdoctoral fellow Yuriy Mileyko, graduate student Richard Joh and Eberhard Voit, who is a professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, the David D. Flanagan Chair Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Biological Systems and director of the new Integrative BioSystems Institute at Georgia Tech. Nearly all previous theoretical studies have claimed that switching between "lysis" and

  • Daptomycin exerts bactericidal activity without lysis of Staphylococcus aureus.

  • For example, the dissolved organic matter absorbed by a bacterium is likely a mixture of that excreted by a primary producer and some from the viral lysis of another bacterium as well the excreta of yet another organism that fed on a herbivore or a primary producer.

  • From observations in lab studies, it appears that these cyanophage-encoded photosynthesis genes force the infected host cell to continue with photosynthesis until shortly before cell lysis.

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