Enzymes

What are enzymes? Enzyme requirement in the living process General characteristic of enzymes Naming of enzyme Sites of enzyme synthesis Intracellular and extracellular enzymes

What Are Enzymes?   

Enzymes are biological catalysts that direct or guide almost all cellular reactions Every metabolic reaction which takes place within a living organism is catalysed by an enzyme. Without enzymes, biological reactions will take too long to complete.

Enzyme Requirement in the Living Process   

Enzymes bind temporarily to one or more of the reactants of the reaction they catalyze. In doing so, they lower the amount of activation energy needed and thus speed up the reaction. The reactant in an enzymatic reaction is called a substrate while the substance formed at the end of the reaction is called a product.

Enzyme Requirement in the Living Process   

There are two major enzyme systems in the human body, digestive and metabolic. The digestive enzymes help break down all of the food that we eat so that it can be absorbed by the body. The metabolic enzymes help to run all of the systems of the body from respiratory system to the nervous system.

Enzyme Requirement in the Living Process
The seven categories of food (digestive) enzymes and their activities are: 
     

Amylase: breaks down starches. Cellulase: breaks down fibers. Lactase: breaks down dairy products. Lipase: breaks down fats. Maltase: breaks down grains. Protease: breaks down proteins. Sucrase: breaks down sugars.

Characteristic of Enzyme 
     

All enzymes are proteins They speed up biochemical reactions without the enzymes being affected by the reactions they catalyse. Enzymes are not changed or destroyed by the reactions. Enzymes are highly specific. Enzymes have specific sites called active sites to bind to specific substrates Each enzyme can only catalyse one kind of substrate. Enzyme are needed in small quantities because they are not used up but released at the end of a reaction.

Characteristic of Enzyme 
    

The same enzyme molecule can process a large number of substrates. Most enzyme-catalysed reactions are reversible. Enzymes can catalyse the reaction in either direction. Enzymes activities can be slowed or completely stopped by inhibitors. Inhibitors are substances that reduce or destroy the activity of some enzymes. Examples of inhibitors are heavy metals such as lead and mercury.

Characteristic of Enzyme 
 

In order to function well , many enzymes require helper molecules , called cofactors. Cofactors are non-protein substances that are needed by some enzymes to function. These molecules bind to enzymes and help to weaken the bonds in the substrate molecules.

Picture of Coenzyme NADH

Naming of Enzyme
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An enzyme's name is often derived from its substrate or the chemical reaction it catalyzes, with the word ending in -ase. ase.

Substrate Lactose Sucrose Lipid

Enzyme Lactase Sucrase Lipase

Naming of Enzyme 

The name of the enzyme is written above the reaction arrow. For example , sucrase hydrolyses sucrose to glucose and fructose.
sucrase

Sucrose + water 

glucose + fructose

However, there are other enzymes that were named before a systematic way of naming enzymes was formulated. For examples , pepsin , trypsin and rennin.

Sites of Enzyme Synthesis
Ribosomes are the sites of enzyme synthesis. The information for the synthesis of enzymes is carried by the DNA. The sequences of bases on the DNA are codes to make proteins.

Sites of Enzyme Synthesis
During the process , messenger RNA is formed to translate the codes into a sequence of amino acid. These amino acids are bonded together to form specific enzymes according to the DNA s codes. A chain of amino acids (polypeptide) is formed and is ready for release into the cytoplasm.

Intracellular and Extracellular Enzymes
‡ Enzymes which are produced and retained in the cell for the use of the cell itself are called intracellular enzymes. ‡ These enzymes are found in the cytoplasm , nucleus , mitochondria and chloroplasts. ‡ For example , the enzyme oxidoreductase catalyses biological oxidation and reduction in the mitochondria.

Intracellular and Extracellular Enzymes
‡ Enzymes which are produced in the cell but secreted from the cell to function externally are called extracellular enzymes. ‡ For example , digestive enzymes produced by the pancreas are not used by the cells in the pancreas but are transported to the duodenum , which is the actual site of the enzymatic reaction.

The End
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