Enzymes are special proteins that help chemical reactions happen faster in the body. They work by turning one type of molecule, called a substrate, into another type of molecule, called a product. Almost all the reactions that keep our bodies working need enzymes to happen fast enough. Different enzymes help with different reactions. There are more than 5,000 different kinds of reactions that enzymes can help with. Some enzymes are made of RNA, which is a type of molecule similar to DNA. Each enzyme is shaped in a special way that helps it work with only certain substrates.

Enzymes, like all catalysts, help reactions happen faster by lowering the amount of energy needed for the reaction to start. Some enzymes can make the reaction between a substrate and a product happen millions of times faster. For example, there is an enzyme called orotidine 5′-phosphate decarboxylase that can make a reaction that would normally take millions of years happen in just a few milliseconds. Enzymes are not used up in reactions and they do not change the balance of the reaction. Enzymes are different from other catalysts because they are much more specific. Other molecules can affect how fast an enzyme works. Inhibitors are molecules that slow down enzymes and activators are molecules that make them work faster. Some drugs and poisons work by blocking enzymes. Enzymes do not work as well at extreme temperatures and pH levels, and they can be damaged by heat. This is called denaturation. When enzymes are denatured, they lose their shape and their ability to work.

In genetics, there are replication and restriction enzymes. Replication enzymes are part of the DNA replication process. Restriction enzymes are from primitive life like bacteria. They can cut DNA at preset points. Thus, they are used in human genetics research.

Sources & Resources

  1. Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restriction_enzyme – Provides a comprehensive overview of restriction enzymes, including their discovery, structure, and mechanism of action.
  2. New England Biolabs: https://www.neb.com/tools-and-resources/feature-articles/restriction-enzymes – Offers detailed information on the different types of restriction enzymes and their uses in molecular biology.
  3. The Genetic Science Learning Center: https://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/tech/restriction/ – Provides a clear and concise explanation of restriction enzymes and their role in DNA cloning.
  4. Enzyme Knowledgebase: https://www.enzymeknowledgebase.org – Contains information on the classification and properties of restriction enzymes, as well as their applications in biotechnology and genetic engineering.
  5. ScienceDirect: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/biochemistry-genetics-and-molecular-biology/restriction-enzyme – Offers a comprehensive overview of restriction enzymes and their role in the analysis and manipulation of DNA. Contains links to related articles and research papers.

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