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Enzymes

Enzymes

Author: Sophia Tutorial
Description:

This lesson will explain the structure and function of enzymes as well as describe the role they play in metabolism.

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Tutorial

What's Covered

In this lesson, you are going to learn about the structure and function of enzymes, as well as the role that they play in your body. Specifically, you will focus on:

  1. Enzyme Structure
  2. Enzyme Function
  3. Enzyme Function Process

1. ENZYME STRUCTURE

If you remember from earlier lessons, ribosomes are the part of a cell that makes proteins, and proteins can have various different roles in your body. One of those roles is that they can become enzymes.

Term to Know

    • Enzyme
    • A protein that changes the shape of a substrate in order to increase the speed of chemical reactions.

2. ENZYME FUNCTION

Enzymes are made up of proteins, and speed up chemical reactions in your body. An enzyme can actually make a chemical reaction happen millions of times faster than it would otherwise. This makes them very important to your body. 

Enzymes are very specific to the type of reaction that they takes place in. Enzymes can join substances together, or break them apart.

ExampleSalivary amylase is an example of one of the enzymes that you have in your body. The purpose of salivary amylase is to break down starches into simple sugars. If you eat something that has a lot of starch in it, the salivary amylase in your saliva will begin to break down those starches into simple sugars in your mouth. This enzyme will not take part in any other reaction in your body; its role is very specific.

However, enzymes can sometimes also join substances together into a larger compound.


3. ENZYME FUNCTION PROCESS

Take a look at the diagram above. The purple part represents the enzyme, and the green parts  represent substrates. A substrate is whatever the enzyme is working on to either join together or break down. The other area is called the active site. The active site is the part on the enzyme where the substrates will attach. These are the three main parts that you'll need to know in relation to an enzyme.

Terms to Know

    • Active Site
    • The area on an enzyme where the substrate attaches.
    • Substrate
    • The molecule that is acted on by an enzyme.

Though difficult to tell from the drawing, it is important to note that when the substrate attaches to the enzyme, the enzyme will generally mold itself around the substrate; this is called induced fit. That puts pressure on the bonds of the substrate, and either bonds those substrates together, or helps to break that substrate apart into two separate products.

Again, substrates will attach to an enzyme at the active site. From there, the enzyme will either break those substances down or join them together.

Term to Know

    • Product
    • The result of a chemical reaction where an enzyme has acted on a substrate

An enzyme, after it participates in this type of reaction, is going to remain unchanged. Therefore, the enzyme can actually be used again. It's going to be the same at the end as it was at the beginning. Conversely, the substrate has changed and become a product; it's different at the end of the process than it was at the beginning.


Summary

Today’s lesson has been a brief overview of the structure and function of enzymes in your body. You also got a closer look at the the process of an enzyme joining substances together or breaking them apart.


Keep up the learning and have a great day!

Source: THIS WORK IS ADAPTED FROM SOPHIA AUTHOR AMANDA SODERLIND

Terms to Know
Active Site

The area on an enzyme where the substrate attaches

Enzyme

A protein that changes the shape of a substrate in order to increase the speed of chemical reactions

Product

The result of a chemical reaction where an enzyme has acted on a substrate

Substrate

The molecule that is acted on by an enzyme