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Mechanism of Enzyme Action

As a catalyst, enzyme requires a substrate on which it acts and participates in bond-making or bond-breaking process, ultimately transforming the substrate or bond-breaking process, ultimately transforming the substrate into a product,

enzymes as catalysts

The formation of enzyme-substrate (ES) complex in majority of cases is non-covalent complex, which subsequently undergoes hydrolysis of a susceptible bond, yielding enzyme and the product. The enzyme-substrate integration is a reversible process and the formation of product is directly proportional to the disappearance of substrate.
The enzyme molecule contains specific groups for effective catalysis carrying amino acid side chains capable of accepting or donating protons or such group that act as nucleophiles. Ordinarily, chemical reactions in a test tube can be accelerated by changing the pH because increased H+ or OH¯ ions facilitate reactions. The amino acid side chains in the enzyme molecule could be acidic or basic , which are capable of bringing about strong reactions. Certain enzymes are known to show eletrophilic attack on the substrate with the help of metallic ions as cofactor. Enzymes involving ATP are dependent on Mg2+ or Mn2+ ions, which help in their eletrophilic attack. There is yet another mechanism of enzyme action which postulates deformation of the substrate caused by the enzyme by weakening the bonds so that they can be broken easily without much energy.

The active Site

Each enzyme has a preference for a specific substrate. X-ray crystallographic studies have been revealed a three-dimensional picture of enzymes. The catalytic function of the enzyme molecule depends upon a specific region which is directly involved in the interaction with the substrate, called active site. The shape of the enzyme molecule is such that it will expose some amino acids so that the substrate molecule can bind to it for necessary catalytic function. According to the concept of active site, there are one or more regions on the enzyme molecule where the substrate can bind. The active site is composed of groups where substrate attachment is possible and the location of site is always with reference to the shape of the enzyme molecule. If the shape of the enzyme molecule is altered, the active site is also likely to able displaced, hampering the catalytic functions.

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