Cell Lysis

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When a cell undergoes lysis, it's contents spill out into the surrounding medium due to the rupture of it's cell membrane and/or it's cell wall[1]. A common cause of cell lysis is the osmolarity of the cell's surroundings (extracellular fluid) being much lower than that of the intracellular fluid, this causes water to move into the cell by osmosis, resulting in the bursting of the cell.

While cell lysis can be harmful to the organism in which it is occuring, it also has scientific uses. It is a common method for the extraction and isolation of cell organelles and cellular proteins for use in research.[2]


  1. Daniel L. Hartl, Maryellen Ruvolo,(2012) Genetics: Analysis of Genes and Genomes, 8th Edition, Jones and Bartlett Learning
  2. ThermoFisher Scientific, Overview of Cell Lysis and Protein Extraction, Available at: https://www.thermofisher.com/uk/en/home/life-science/protein-biology/protein-biology-learning-center/protein-biology-resource-library/pierce-protein-methods/overview-cell-lysis-and-protein-extraction.html (last accessed 2.12.15)
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