Multiple conformational changes in enzyme catalysis.
Understanding the molecular mechanisms of enzyme catalysis and allosteric regulation has been a primary goal of biochemistry for many years. The dynamics of these processes, approached through a variety of kinetic methods, are discussed. The results obtained for many different enzymes suggest that multiple intermediates and conformations are general characteristics of the catalytic process and allosteric regulation. Ribonuclease, dihydrofolate reductase, chymotrypsin, aspartate aminotransferase, and aspartate transcarbamoylase are considered as specific examples. Typical and maximum rates of conformational changes and catalysis are also discussed, based on results obtained from model systems. The nature and rates of interconversion of the intermediates, along with structural information, can be used as the bases for understanding the incredible catalytic efficiency of enzymes. Potential roles of conformational changes in the catalytic process are discussed in terms of static and environmental effects, and in terms of dynamic coupling within the enzyme-substrate complex.
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