in the final step of enzymatic catalysis

in the final step of enzymatic catalysis

in the final step of enzymatic catalysis

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Enzyme Catalysis

The power of enzyme catalysis is that the rate of the RDS can be 106 to 1015 times greater than that of the uncatalyzed reaction at ambient temperatures.

Enzyme-catalyzed reactions occur in at least two steps. In the first step, an enzyme molecule (E) and the substrate molecule or molecules (S) collide and react to form an intermediate compound called the enzyme-substrate (E–S) complex. (This step is reversible because the complex can break apart into the original substrate or substrates and the free enzyme.) Once the E–S complex forms, the enzyme is able to catalyze the formation of product (P), which is then released from the enzyme surface:



Hydrogen bonding and other electrostatic interactions hold the enzyme and substrate together in the complex. The structural features or functional groups on the enzyme that participate in these interactions are located in a cleft or pocket on the enzyme surface. This pocket, where the enzyme combines with the substrate and transforms the substrate to product is called the active site of the enzyme.

in the final step of enzymatic catalysis
in the final step of enzymatic catalysis

steps of enzymatic catalysis

The active site of an enzyme possesses a unique conformation (including correctly positioned bonding groups) that is complementary to the structure of the substrate, so that the enzyme and substrate molecules fit together in much the same manner as a key fits into a tumbler lock. In fact, an early model describing the formation of the enzyme-substrate complex was called the lock-and-key model. This model portrayed the enzyme as conformationally rigid and able to bond only to substrates that exactly fit the active site.

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Working out the precise three-dimensional structures of numerous enzymes has enabled chemists to refine the original lock-and-key model of enzyme actions. They discovered that the binding of a substrate often leads to a large conformational change in the enzyme, as well as to changes in the structure of the substrate or substrates. The current theory, known as the induced-fit model, says that enzymes can undergo a change in conformation when they bind substrate molecules, and the active site has a shape complementary to that of the substrate only after the substrate is bound, as shown for hexokinase. After catalysis, the enzyme resumes its original structure.

The structural changes that occur when an enzyme and a substrate join together bring specific parts of a substrate into alignment with specific parts of the enzyme’s active site. Amino acid side chains in or near the binding site can then act as acid or base catalysts, provide binding sites for the transfer of functional groups from one substrate to another or aid in the rearrangement of a substrate. The participating amino acids,

which are usually widely separated in the primary sequence of the protein, are brought close together in the active site as a result of the folding and bending of the polypeptide chain or chains when the protein acquires its tertiary and quaternary structure. Binding to enzymes brings reactants close to each other and aligns them properly, which has the same effect as increasing the concentration of the reacting compounds.

in the final step of enzymatic catalysis
in the final step of enzymatic catalysis

One characteristic that distinguishes an enzyme from all other types of catalysts is its substrate specificity. An inorganic acid such as sulfuric acid can be used to increase the reaction rates of many different reactions, such as the hydrolysis of disaccharides, polysaccharides, lipids, and proteins, with complete impartiality. In contrast, enzymes are much more specific. Some enzymes act on a single substrate, while other enzymes act on any of a group of related molecules containing a similar functional group or chemical bond.

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Some enzymes even distinguish between D- and L-stereoisomers, binding one stereoisomer but not the other. Urease, for example, is an enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of a single substrate—urea—but not the closely related compounds methyl urea, thiourea, or biuret. The enzyme carboxypeptidase, on the other hand, is far less specific. It catalyzes the removal of nearly any amino acid from the carboxyl end of any peptide or protein.

in the final step of enzymatic catalysis
in the final step of enzymatic catalysis

The Catalytic Activity of Enzymes

Like all other catalysts, enzymes are characterized by two fundamental properties. First, they increase the rate of chemical reactions without themselves being consumed or permanently altered by the reaction. Second, they increase reaction rates without altering the chemical equilibrium between reactants and products.

These principles of enzymatic catalysis are illustrated in the following example, in which a molecule acted upon by an enzyme (referred to as a substrate [S]) is converted to a product (P) as the result of the reaction. In the absence of the enzyme, the reaction can be written as follows:

Image ch2e1.jpg

The chemical equilibrium between S and P is determined by the laws of thermodynamics (as discussed further in the next section of this chapter) and is represented by the ratio of the forward and reverse reaction rates (SP and PS, respectively). In the presence of the appropriate enzyme, the conversion of S to P is accelerated, but the equilibrium between S and P is unaltered. Therefore, the enzyme must accelerate both the forward and reverse reactions equally. The reaction can be written as follows:

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Image ch2e2.jpg


Note that the enzyme (E) is not altered by the reaction, so the chemical equilibrium remains unchanged, determined solely by the thermodynamic properties of S and P.

The effect of the enzyme on such a reaction is best illustrated by the energy changes that must occur during the conversion of S to P . The equilibrium of the reaction is determined by the final energy states of S and P, which are unaffected by enzymatic catalysis. In order for the reaction to proceed, however, the substrate must first be converted to a higher energy state, called the transition state. The energy required to reach the transition state (the activation energy) constitutes a barrier to the progress of the reaction, limiting the rate of the reaction. Enzymes (and other catalysts) act by reducing the activation energy, thereby increasing the rate of reaction. The increased rate is the same in both the forward and reverse directions, since both must pass through the same transition state.

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