Definition - What does Enzyme mean?

An enzyme is a biological catalyst that tremendously accelerates the rate and efficiency of chemical reactions in living organisms. During such reactions, an enzyme acts upon substrates and converts them into different molecules referred to as products. Nearly all cellular metabolic processes require an enzyme to occur at a rate rapid enough to sustain life. An enzyme is a protein, but not all proteins are enzymes.

MaximumYield explains Enzyme

More than 5,000 biochemical reactions are known to require an enzyme catalyst.

An enzyme, just like all catalysts, speeds up the rate of a reaction by reducing the reaction's activation energy.

There are two types of enzymes in botany: the exoenzymes (extracellular enzymes) and the endoenzymes (intracellular enzymes). The exoenzymes are those enzymes whose activities and functions occur outside the cell, and they retain their ability even when they are removed from the cell. On the other hand, the endoenzymes are those enzymes that function inside the cell and lose their ability when they are extracted from the cell.

An enzyme’s ability can be affected by other molecules; its activities can either be intensified or decreased. Activators are molecules that can intensify the activities of an enzyme, while inhibitors are molecules that can decrease its activities.

Enzymes are categorized according to the biochemical reactions they catalyze. Six common groups of enzymes include ligases, isomerases, hydrolases, transferases, lyases, and oxidoreductases. However, an enzyme can also be classified by adding the suffix “ase” to the particular molecule it is acting upon such as trypsin, rennin, and pepsin. For instance, lipase acts upon lipid molecules while sucrase acts upon sucrose.

Share this: