What Do Enzymes Do

What Do Enzymes DoA bacterium such as E. coli offers about 1,000 various kinds of enzymes floating around in the cytoplasm at any given moment. The enzyme maltase is formed in such a way which it can break the bond and free the 2 glucose pieces.

The only thing maltase can perform is break maltose molecules, however it can do that very quickly and efficiently. Other kinds of enzymes can set atoms and molecules with each other. Breaking molecules apart and placing molecules together is exactly what enzymes do and there is a certain enzyme for every chemical reaction required to make the cell function properly.

Enzymes have very interesting properties which make them little chemical reaction machines. The purpose of an enzyme within a cell is to permit the cell to perform chemical reactions very rapidly. These reactions enable the cell to create things or take things apart as required. This is how a cell reproduces and grows. At the most fundamental level, a cell is really a little bag filled with chemical reactions that are made possible by enzymes.

How Do Enzymes Work

Enzymes are proteins that permit certain chemical reactions to occur much faster than the reactions would take place on their own. Enzymes work as catalysts, meaning that they accelerate the rate where metabolic processes and reactions take place in living organisms.

Generally, the reactions or processes are part of a cycle or pathway, with separate reactions at every step. Every step of a pathway or cycle usually needs a specific enzyme. With no specific enzyme to catalyze a reaction, the cycle or pathway cannot be accomplished.

The outcome of an uncompleted cycle or pathway is the absence of a product of that cycle or pathway. And, with no needed product, a function cannot be carried out, which badly affects the organism.

The active site of an enzyme provides such a particular shape that just one kind of molecule will fit it, instead like a particular key fitting a lock. This is why enzymes are specific within their action.

Types of Enzymes

Enzymes are proteins that modify the chemical properties of other molecules. It performs this by catalyzing a reaction. The enzyme provides an active site that is specific for a certain molecule or substrate. When the enzyme and substrate bind, a reaction occurs. The impact on the substrate depends upon the type of enzyme. Typically, there are six types of enzymes.


Transferases are several enzymes that catalyze group transfer reactions. This involves the transfer of a group of atoms from one molecule to other. An example will be moving a phosphoryl group from ATP to glucose.


Oxidoreductases are enzymes which transfer electrons in the type of hydrogen atoms or hydride ions.


Lyases are enzymes that moves groups to double bonds or eliminate groups to make double bonds. 


Hydrolysis reactions are catalyzed by hydrolases. These are enzymes that transfer functional groups to water.


Ligases are enzymes that catalyze condensation reactions during ATP cleavage to form bonds between a carbon atom and either another carbon atom, sulfur, oxygen, or nitrogen.


This type of enzyme produces isomeres of a molecule by moving groups of atoms within a molecule.

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