Saturday, February 7, 2009


Various kinds of protein molecules known as enzymes serve to accelerate, or catalyze, the chemical reactions of living cells. Without enzymes, most biochemical reactions would proceed too slowly to effectively carry on life processes.

The manufacture of these enzymes is regulated by the cells genetic material, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), through the process of protein synthesis. The potential of a cell to grow and divide is determined largely by the number and different kinds of enzymes it contains. Certain cell also perform specialized functions, such as transmitting nerve impulses or producing hormones, that are regulated by enzymes or producing hormones, that are regulated by enzymes. Several hundred different reactions may catalyzed by one or more enzymes.

Enzymes differ from inorganic catalysts, such as platinum and palladium, in two important ways: the sequence of amino acids in an enzyme molecule is catalytic action, and each system exerts its catalytic action only on specific substances in specific reactions. A nonbiological catalyst, by contrast, catalyzes a wide variety of chemical reactions.

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