What is Lysis?
Lysis is the process in which cells undergo bursting or breakdown to release its molecules like DNA, RNA, lipids, and proteins. Usually lysis is done for research purposes. The cell breakdown can be done through some viral process or through a process called osmosis.
Osmosis pertains to the movement or transfer of water in a solution through a semi-permeable membrane. Usually water moves from where there is less solvent concentration to a solution with higher concentration of solvents. This particular process is common in the cell lysis of animals and plants. What happens in animal cell lysis is a demonstration of the effects of osmosis. Since the cell has more salt concentrated on it than its neighbors, water will move into it through its semi-permeable membranes. The cell will then be able to accommodate water but if there is already too much, it will burst. In plant cells meanwhile, there is higher salt concentration outside the cell. In this case, the water will have a tendency to move out of the cell causing the cell to break down and die. This is what happens internally to plants during the extreme heat and dryness of summer.
Besides osmosis, there are various other ways to break down cells. These other methods include cell ultrasound with small probes, mechanical pressure or agitation, sonication, or the nitrogen burst method. These particular steps are done mostly for research. Cell lysis is very important in extracting DNA, RNA, and proteins which are considered very helpful in cell and molecular biology. One must take note though that the process of breaking down cells involves bursting them and releasing the contents, and therefore will cause these same cells to die. And if these cells die, they cannot be grown and/or used again. One must also make sure to maximize the use of cell lysis as growing cells is very expensive to maintain.