Michaelis-Menten Equation

The Michaelis-Menten equation is a mathematical model that describes the relationship between the rate of an enzymatic reaction and the concentration of substrate. It is widely used in biochemistry and enzymology to study enzyme kinetics. The equation is named after the biochemists Leonor Michaelis and Maud Menten, who developed it in 1913.

The Michaelis-Menten equation is expressed as follows:

v = (Vmax * [S]) / (Km + [S])


  • v represents the initial reaction rate,
  • Vmax is the maximum reaction rate that can be achieved when the enzyme is saturated with substrate,
  • [S] denotes the concentration of substrate,
  • Km is the Michaelis constant, which represents the substrate concentration at which the reaction rate is half of the maximum.

The Michaelis-Menten equation assumes a simple enzyme-substrate interaction, where the enzyme binds reversibly with the substrate to form an enzyme-substrate complex, which then proceeds to form the product. It is based on the following assumptions:

  1. The reaction is reversible and reaches a steady-state.
  2. The concentration of the enzyme-substrate complex remains constant during the reaction.
  3. The rate-determining step is the conversion of the enzyme-substrate complex to the product.

The equation can be used to determine important parameters of enzyme kinetics. Vmax reflects the enzyme’s catalytic efficiency, indicating how quickly the enzyme can convert substrate to product. Km provides information about the affinity of the enzyme for the substrate, indicating how tightly the enzyme and substrate bind. A lower Km value indicates a higher affinity between the enzyme and substrate.

The Michaelis-Menten equation is valuable in enzyme characterization, determination of kinetic parameters, and understanding the behavior of enzymes under different conditions. It has been instrumental in the development of enzyme inhibitors, the study of enzyme regulation, and the design of drugs targeting specific enzymes.

Michaelis-Menten equation With Interactive graph