Understanding The Chemical Composition And Configuration Of Enzymes

Enzymes AP® Biology Crash Course Review Albert.io

The Basics of Enzymes

Enzymes are biomolecules that catalyze biochemical reactions in living organisms. These molecules are highly specific and only interact with certain substrates. Enzymes play a crucial role in metabolic pathways, allowing reactions to occur at a faster rate than they would without the enzyme.

Chemical Composition of Enzymes

Enzymes are typically made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. The amino acids are arranged in a specific sequence, known as the primary structure. The primary structure determines the shape of the enzyme and its function. The amino acids are joined together by peptide bonds, which form between the carboxyl group of one amino acid and the amino group of another. The resulting chain of amino acids is known as a polypeptide.

Configuration of Enzymes

The configuration of enzymes is determined by their three-dimensional structure. This structure is determined by the interactions between the amino acids in the polypeptide chain. The interactions include hydrogen bonds, ionic bonds, and hydrophobic interactions. The three-dimensional structure of the enzyme is crucial to its function. The active site of the enzyme is a specific region where the substrate binds and the reaction occurs. The active site is highly specific and only interacts with certain substrates.

Enzyme Classification

Enzymes are classified based on the type of reaction they catalyze. There are six main classes of enzymes: oxidoreductases, transferases, hydrolases, lyases, isomerases, and ligases. Oxidoreductases catalyze oxidation-reduction reactions. Transferases transfer functional groups from one molecule to another. Hydrolases catalyze hydrolysis reactions, which break down molecules by adding water. Lyases catalyze the removal of groups from molecules. Isomerases catalyze the rearrangement of atoms within a molecule. Ligases catalyze the joining of two molecules.

Enzyme Regulation

Enzyme activity can be regulated by a variety of mechanisms. Enzyme inhibitors bind to the active site of the enzyme, preventing the substrate from binding. This can be reversible or irreversible. Enzyme activity can also be regulated by allosteric regulation, where a molecule binds to a site on the enzyme that is separate from the active site. This can activate or inhibit the enzyme.


In conclusion, enzymes are highly specific biomolecules that play a crucial role in metabolic pathways. The chemical composition and configuration of enzymes determine their function and specificity. Enzymes are classified based on the type of reaction they catalyze, and their activity can be regulated by a variety of mechanisms. Understanding the basics of enzyme biochemistry is essential for understanding the complex processes that occur in living organisms.