What is Enzyme?
Interesting Facts of Enzymes
- The word “enzyme” was first coined in 1867 by the German physiologist Wilhelm Kühne.
- Enzymes were originally thought to be chemical catalysts, but it was later discovered that they are actually proteins.
- The first enzyme to be purified and characterized was diastase, an enzyme that converts starch to sugar, in 1833 by Anselme Payen.
- In 1878, the French chemist Louis Pasteur observed that enzymes were specific to their substrates, meaning that each enzyme only catalyzes a specific chemical reaction.
- Enzymes are critical for many biological processes, such as metabolism, DNA replication, and cellular respiration.
- Enzymes can be divided into six main classes: oxidoreductases, transferases, hydrolases, lyases, isomerases, and ligases.
- Enzymes work by binding to a specific substrate, or reactant, and lower the activation energy required for the reaction to occur.
- Enzymes can be regulated by various mechanisms, such as allosteric regulation and covalent modification.
- Enzymes can be denatured, or lose their activity, by changes in temperature, pH, or the presence of certain chemicals.
- Some enzymes, called metalloenzymes, require a metal ion, such as zinc or iron, to function properly.
- The study of enzymes is called enzymology.
- Enzymes are found in all living organisms, including bacteria, plants, and animals.
- Many enzymes are used in industrial and medical applications, such as in the production of food and beverages, and in the development of drugs.
- Enzymes are also used in biotechnology for tasks such as DNA sequencing and PCR amplification.
- The study of enzymes is also crucial for understanding many diseases, such as diabetes and cancer, which are caused by enzyme deficiencies or malfunctions.
- The first enzyme to be crystallized was urease in 1926 by James Sumner.
- In 1948, the American biochemist Linus Pauling and his colleagues proposed the lock-and-key model for enzyme-substrate binding.
- In 1958, the American biochemist Daniel Koshland proposed the induced fit model for enzyme-substrate binding, which suggests that the enzyme and substrate change shape slightly upon binding.
- The most common form of enzyme regulation is allosteric regulation, which can be either activating or inhibitory.
- Enzymes are incredibly specific and efficient, with some enzymes able to catalyze a reaction over a billion times per second.