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7: Enzymes, catalysis and kinetics

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    • 7.1: Basic Principles of Catalysis
      Thanks to catalysis, reactions that can take hundreds of years to complete in the uncatalyzed “real world,” occur in seconds in the presence of a catalyst. To understand enzymatic catalysis, it is necessary first to understand energy. Chemical reactions follow the universal trend of moving towards lower energy, but they often have a barrier in place that must be overcome. The secret to catalytic action is reducing the magnitude of that barrier.
    • 7.2: Derivation of Michaelis-Menten equation
    • 7.3: Mechanisms of Catalysis
      The magic of enzymes, as noted, is in their ability to create electronic environments conducive to initiation of a reaction. There are more mechanisms of reaction than we could ever hope to cover in a book like this, and comprehensive discussion of these is not our aim. Instead, we will cite some examples and go into detail on one of them - the mechanism of action of serine proteases.
    • 7.4: Control of Enzymatic Activity
      Apart from their ability to greatly speed the rates of chemical reactions in cells, enzymes have another property that makes them valuable. This property is that their activity can be regulated, allowing them to be activated and inactivated, as necessary. This is tremendously important in maintaining homeostasis, permitting cells to respond in controlled ways to changes in both internal and external conditions.

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