You are on page 1of 2

1

CHAPTER 8: ENZYMES
An enzyme is a protein catalyst that increases the rate at which a chemical reaction proceeds
without the enzyme being permanently changed. The three-dimensional shape of enzymes is
critical for their normal function because it determines the structure of enzyme’s active site.
According to the lock-and-key model of enzyme action, a reaction occurs when the reactants
(key) bind to the active site (lock) on the enzyme. This view of enzymes and reactants as rigid
structure fitting together has been modified by the induced fit model, in which the enzyme is
able to slightly change shape and better fit structures.

At the active site, reactants are brought into close proximity. After the reactants combine, they
are released from the active site, and the enzyme is capable of catalyzing additional reactions.
The activation energy required for a chemical reaction to occur is lowered by enzymes because
they orient the reactants toward each other in such a way that it is more likely a chemical
reaction will occur.

Slight changes in the structure of an enzyme can destroy the ability of the active site to function.
Enzymes are very sensitive to changes in temperature or PH, Which can break hygrogen bonds
within them. As a result, the relationship between amino acids changes, thereby producing a
change in shape that prevents the enzyme from functioning normally.

Many enzymes are indeed pure proteins. Howether, many enzymes consist of a protein the
apoenzyme; to be functional, some enzymes require additional, nonprotein substances called
cofactors. The complete enzyme consisting of the apoenzyme and its cofactor is called the
holoenzyme. A cofactor can be an anion, such as magnesium or zinc, or organic molecules, such
as certain vitamins, may be referred to as coenzymes. Cofactors normally form part of the
enzyme’s active site and are required to make the enzyme functional.

Enzymes are highly specific because their active site can bind only to certain reactants. Each
enzyme catalyzes a specific chemical reaction and no others. Many different enzymes are
therefore needed to catalyse the many chemical reactions of the body. Enzymes often are named
by adding the suffix –ase to the name of the molecules on which they act. For example, an
enzyme that catalyse the breakdown of lipids is a lipase, and an enzyme that breaks down
proteins is called a protease.

Enzymes control the rate at which most chemical reactions proceed in living systems.
Consequently, they control essentially all cellular activities. At the same time, the activity of
enzymes themselves is regulated by several mechanisms within the cells. Some mechanisms
control the enzyme concentration by influencing the rate at which the enzymes are synthesized;
others alter the activity of existing enzymes. Much what is known about the regulation of cellular
activity is controlled.

CLASSIFICATION OF ENZYMES
The new system classifies enzymes into 6 major classes and sub-classes according to the type of
reaction catalyzed. Each enzymes is assigned a recommended name usually short and
appropriate for everyday use. The 6 classes are:
2

Class Number Class Name Reaction Catalyzed


I Oxidorectases Catalyze electron transfer reactions (transfer
hydrogen atoms or electrons)
II Transferases Transfer of functional groups (such as PO4,
NH2, CH3 etc.)
III Hydrolases Catalyse hydrolytic reactions (addition of
water) to break a chemical bond
IV Lyases Addition of double bonds in a molecule as
well as non-hydrolytic removal of chemical
groups
V Isomerase Catalyse isomerization reaction (reactions in
which one compound is changed into an
isomer)
VI Ligase Catalyze the joining together of 2 molecules
with cleavage or breakage of ATP to ADP
and inorganic phosphate (Pi) using free
energy of hydrolysis.

SAMPLE QUESTIONS
1. Describe the mode of action of enzymes