ALFRED PASIEKA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ALFRED PASIEKA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Lock and key enzyme action. Computer artwork zoom effect of the lock and key mechanism of enzyme action. Enzymes are proteins that act as biological catalysts. That is they regulate the rates of reactions in the body. In this image, the enzymes (red) have a depressed region on their surface representing an "active site" which allows them to bind with the yellow 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.
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