Enzymes are considered biological catalysts. This means that they speed processes within different organisms such as digestion. All enzymes are composed of a chain of amino acids that fold into a three- dimensional figure. The shape and size of this structure determines its function and how it will perform within an organism. However, this structure can be unfolded, or denatured, causing it to lose its activity and function. This can be caused by a change in pH or temperature. In the enzyme helicase, it is

Function and Substrate

One of helicase's main functions is to "unzip" or separate strands of DNA. This process occurs through ATP hydrolysis, which simply breaks the hydrogen bonds between nucleotide bases. Helicase can also remove certain proteins and catalyze certain reactions within DNA recombination. Not only does helicase function with DNA, it also serves in the different metabolic processes with RNA as well such as translation, transcription, RNA splicing, and degradation.

Because helicase's main function is to "unzip" DNA, the separated strands serve as its substrate. The enzyme attaches itself to the strand(s) in order to separate the double helix, creating two separate strands.

Controlling Enzymes

Because each cell has a specific function, each enzyme works at different rates or different strengths depending on its chemical makeup. There are a few factors that go into regulation of these enzymes that drive enzyme activity. Regulatory Enzymes: enzymes activity can be turned "up" or "down" depending on the activator or inhibitor molecules that bind to it. Cofactors: cofactors bind to certain enzymes and help to activate them. Compartmentalization: storing enzymes can help to provide the right conditions for cells and prevent them from doing damage to other cells. Feedback inhibition: metabolic enzymes can be inhibited by the end product which they can ultimately control

Enzyme Activation

Enzyme activators are specific molecules that bind to enzymes in order to increase their activity levels. Each enzymes has its own activation energy that is required in order to start a reaction. Most cells have a high activation energy, but when enzymes are added, it lowers the activation energy, allowing the rate of the reaction to occur at a faster time.

Works Cited

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helicase#Function
  • http://www.nature.com/scitable/definition/helicase-307
  • https://www.khanacademy.org/science/biology/energy-and-enzymes/enzyme-regulation/a/enzyme-regulation
  • http://study.com/academy/lesson/function-of-enzymes-substrate-active-site-activation-energy.html

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