ALFRED PASIEKA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ALFRED PASIEKA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Enzyme action. Computer artwork of the mechanism of enzyme action. Enzymes are proteins that regulate the rates of reactions in the body. Thousands of different enzymes are known and each has a unique chemical structure. Enzymes act as biological catalysts by speeding up reactions. In this image, the red enzyme molecules have an "active site" which allows them to bind with the blue substrate molecule. This is known as the "lock and key" mechanism. Once bound, the enzyme chemically changes the substrate, for example, to break it into smaller parts during the digestion of food molecules. The active site of each enzyme is usually specific for it's substrate.
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