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BBC - GCSE Bitesize - Enzymes

Science
Enzymes
Enzymes are large molecules that speed up the chemical reactions inside cells. Each type of enzyme does on specific job. Enzymes are a type of protein, and like all proteins, they are made from long chains of different amino acids.

Biological catalysts
Enzymes are soluble protein molecules that can speed up chemical reactions in cells. These reactions include respiration [ respiration : Chemical change that takes place inside living cells, which uses glucose and oxygen to produce the energy organisms need to live. Carbon dioxide is a by-product of respiration ], photosynthesis [ photosynthesis : The chemical change that occurs in the leaves of green plants. It uses light energy to convert carbon dioxide and water into glucose. Oxygen is produced as a by-product of photosynthesis. ] and making new proteins. For this reason enzymes are sometimes called biological catalysts. Enzymes speed up (catalyse) chemical reactions occurring inside and outside of living cells. This includes:

DNA replication Protein synthesis Digestion


Each enzyme will only speed up one reaction as the shape of the enzyme molecule needs to match the shape of the molecule it reacts with (the substrate molecule). The part of the enzyme molecule that matches the substrate is called the active site. In this animation an enzyme is shown joining two smaller substrate molecules together to make a larger molecule.

Enzymes and temperature


http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/science/add_edexcel/cells/enzymesrev_print.shtml[10/21/2013 8:19:05 PM]

BBC - GCSE Bitesize - Enzymes

At low temperatures , enzyme reactions are slow. They speed up as the temperature rises until an optimum temperature is reached. After this point the reaction will slow down and eventually stop.

Enzymes and pH
Most enzymes work fastest in neutral conditions. Making the solution more acidic or alkaline will slow the reaction down. At extremes of pH the reaction will stop altogether. Some enzymes, such as those used in digestion, are adapted to work faster in unusual pH conditions and may have an optimum pH of 2 (very acidic) if they act in the stomach.

Enzymes and substrate concentration


Enzymes will work best if there is plenty of substrate available. As the concentration of the substrate increases, so does the enzyme activity. However, the enzyme activity does not increase without end. This is because the enzyme can't work any faster

http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/science/add_edexcel/cells/enzymesrev_print.shtml[10/21/2013 8:19:05 PM]

BBC - GCSE Bitesize - Enzymes

even though there is plenty of substrate available.

The lock and key mechanism


Enzymes are proteins that speed up chemical reactions in our cells. Enzymes work best at their optimum temperature. This is why homeostasis is important - to keep our body temperature at a constant 37C. As the temperature increases, so does the rate of chemical reaction. This is because heat energy causes more collisions, with more energy, between the enzyme molecules and other molecules. However, if the temperature gets too high, the enzyme is denatured and stops working. A common error in exams is to write that enzymes are killed at high temperatures. Since enzymes are not living things, they cannot be killed.

Graph showing the effects of temperature on enzyme activity

One enzyme - one job

http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/science/add_edexcel/cells/enzymesrev_print.shtml[10/21/2013 8:19:05 PM]

BBC - GCSE Bitesize - Enzymes

Enzymes are specific. Only molecules with the correct shape can fit into the enzyme. Just like only one key can open a lock, only one type of enzyme can speed up a specific reaction. This is called the lock and key model.

Denaturing of enzymes
The important part of an enzyme is called the active site. This is where specific molecules bind to the enzyme and the reaction occurs. Anything that changes the shape of the active site stops the enzyme from working. This is similar to a key that opens a door lock. It does not matter what a key handle looks like, but if you change the shape of the teeth the key no longer works. The shape of the active site is affected by pH. This is why enzymes will only work at a specific pH , as well as a specific temperature. Change the pH and the enzyme stops working. Increasing the temperature to 60C will cause a permanent change to the shape of the active site. This is why enzymes stop working when they are heated. We say they have become denatured. Now try a Test Bite. Back to Revision Bite

http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/science/add_edexcel/cells/enzymesrev_print.shtml[10/21/2013 8:19:05 PM]