Ap Enzyme Activity

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LAB #1 ENZYME ACTIVITY AP Biology Introduction Enzymes are biological catalysts that carry out thousands of chemical reactions that occur in living cells. They are generally large proteins made up of several hundred amino acids, and often contain a non-proteinaceous group that is important in the actual catalysts. In an enzyme-catalyzed reaction, the substance to be acted upon, the substrate, binds in the active site of the enzyme. The enzyme and substrate are held together in an enzyme-substrate complex by hydrophobic bonds, hydrogen bonds, and ionic bonds. The enzyme then converts the substrate to the reaction products in a process that often requires several chemical steps, and may involve covalent bonds. Finally, the products are released into solution and the enzyme is ready to form another enzyme-substrate complex. As is true of any catalyst, the enzyme is not used up as it carries out the reaction, but it recycled over and over. One enzyme molecule can carry out thousands of reaction cycles every minute. Each enzyme is specific for a certain reaction because its amino acid sequence is unique and causes it to have a unique three-dimensional structure. The “business” end of the enzyme molecule, the active site, also is specific so that only one or a few of the thousands of compounds present in a cell can interact with it. If there is a prosthetic group on the enzyme, it will form part of the active site. Any substance that blocks or changes the shape of the active site will interfere with the activity and efficiency of the enzyme. If these changes are large enough, the enzyme can no longer act at all, and is said to be denatured. There are several factors that are especially important in determining the enzyme’s shape, and these are closely regulated both in the living organism and in laboratory experiments to give the optimum or most

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