How do enzymes speed up a reaction

For any chemical reaction to take place there must be a small input of energy. This is called the activation energy, and is often likened to the small push that is needed to loosen a boulder and allow it to roll down a hill. It is the energy needed to convert the molecules at the start of a reaction into intermediate forms known as transition states, by the rearrangement of chemical bonds. The great gift of enzymes is that they can greatly lower the activation energy of a reaction, so that it requires a smaller energy input, and may therefore occur more readily (Figure 6.4).

The purely protein component of an enzyme is known as the apoen-zyme. The complex of apoenzyme and cofac-tor is called the holoen-zyme. The apoenzyme on its own does not have biological activity.

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