Introduction to Enzymes

The following has been excerpted from a very popular Worthington publication which was originally published in 1972 as the Manual of Clinical Enzyme Measurements. While some of the presentation may seem somewhat dated, the basic concepts are still helpful for researchers who must use enzymes but who have little background in enzymology.

Enzyme Kinetics: The Enzyme Substrate Complex

A theory to explain the catalytic action of enzymes was proposed by the Swedish chemist Savante Arrhenius in 1888. He proposed that the substrate and enzyme formed some intermediate substance which is known as the enzyme substrate complex. The reaction can be represented as:

If this reaction is combined with the original reaction equation [1], the following results:

The existence of an intermediate enzyme-substrate complex has been demonstrated in the laboratory, for example, using catalase and a hydrogen peroxide derivative. At Yale University, Kurt G. Stern observed spectral shifts in catalase as the reaction it catalyzed proceeded. This experimental evidence indicates that the enzyme first unites in some way with the substrate and then returns to its original form after the reaction is concluded.

Next: Chemical Equilibrium

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