What are enzymes? Write in brief the mechanism of enzyme catalysis.
Enzymes are basically protein molecules of high molecular masses. These form colloidal solutions when dissolved in water. These are complex, nitrogenous organic compounds produced by living plants and animals. Enzymes are also called ‘biochemical catalysts’.
On the surface of the enzymes, various cavities are present with characteristic shapes. These cavities possess active groups such as −NH2, −COOH, etc. The reactant molecules having a complementary shape fit into the cavities just like a key fits into a lock. This leads to the formation of an activated complex. This complex then decomposes to give the product.
Step 1: E + S → ES+
Step 2: ES+ → E + P
Enzymes are complex nitrogenous organic compounds which act as a biological catalysts and increase the rate of cellular processes. According to the lock and key model, like every lock has a specific key, similarly every enzyme acts as a specific substrate.
When the substrate fits the active site (lock) of the enzyme, the chemical change begins.But it has also been noticed that enzyme changes shape, when substrate lands at the active site. This induced-fit model of enzyme action pictures the substrate inducing the active site to adopt a perfect fit, rather than a rigid shaped lock and key. Therefore, the new model for enzyme action is called induced fit model.
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