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n. A membrane-enclosed organelle that contains the glycolytic enzymes.


The glycosome is a membrane-enclosed organelle that contains the glycolytic enzymes. The term was first used by Scott and Still in 1968 after they realized that the glycogen in the cell was not static but rather a dynamic molecule. It is found in a few species of protozoa including the Kinetoplastida which included the suborders Trypanosomatina and Bodonina, most notably in the human pathogenic trypanosomes, which can cause sleeping sickness and Chagas's disease, and leishmaniasis. The organelle is bounded by a single membrane and contains a dense proteinaceous matrix. It is believed to have evolved from the peroxisome. This has been verified by work done on Leishmania genetics.

The glycosome is currently being researched as a possible target for drug therapies.

Glycosomes are unique to kinetoplastids. The term glycosome is also used for glycogen-containing structures found in hepatocytes responsible for storing sugar, but these are not membrane bound organelles.