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Name: Jennifer
Status: Student
Age: 17
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Question:
What are the chemical composition and configurations of enzymes?
What factors modify enzymes structure and functions?



Replies:
All enzymes are proteins, per definition. Not all proteins are enzymes, though. Proteins that act like katalysts in chemical reactions are called enzymes. Their exact function is determined by their structure, which is a combination of the sequence of amino acids (from which all proteins are build up). The sequence will result in a certain three-dimensional structure that may be stabilized by moyeties other than amino acids, that are added to the protein backbone. That complete structure determines the function. Factors that modify enzyme strucutre will often also affect the function (more often than not distroy function). THink of other enzymes that nibble at your enzyme, or dissolvents that force the protein in a different, wrong, three-dimensional structure. Heating will change (often destroy) enzymic function. In few cases the activity of enzyme 1 will change the function of enzyme 2 and so forth, so that a chain of reactions can take place.

Enzymes are so diverse in function, structure, and characteristics that it is difficult to draw a general picture. Think of it this way: can you 'draw a typical animal'?

Trudy Wassenaar



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