Enzymes are biological catalysts of a protein nature that affect the speed of a chemical reaction, but are not part of its final products.
In 1902, Henry suggested that the action of enzymes is to form a complex with a substrate molecule, which is a reversible process. The enzyme-substrate complex corresponds to an intermediate compound or a transition state in the theory of intermediate compounds. Then this complex breaks down and regenerates the enzyme. This process is described by the equation
E + S = ES = E + P
where the E-enzyme, S-substrate, ES-complex, and P-reaction product. This equation was first proposed by Michaelis and Menten in 1913, and therefore it was called the Michaelis – Mepten equation.
According to existing views, the substrate molecule binds to the region on the surface of the enzyme, which is called the active center. The activity of this center increases in the presence of vitamins and certain minerals. Various microelements, in particular d-transition metals, such as, for example, copper, manganese, iron and nickel, are especially responsible for the activity of enzymes.
The activity of some enzymes is very dependent on the presence of coenzymes. Coenzymes are relatively small organic molecules that bind to the active sites of the enzyme. The role of such coenzymes is often performed by B vitamins.
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