How Many Enzymes Are There In The Human Body – Enzymes are essential protein molecules in living systems that, once synthesized, are not usually converted into other molecules, as are substances used as fuel for digestion and respiration (eg, sugars, fats, molecular oxygen). This is because enzymes are catalysts, which means they can participate in chemical reactions without changing themselves, much like a moderator of a public debate, who ideally guides the participants and audience to a conclusion by dictating the terms of the argument rather than adding any unique information.

More than 2,000 enzymes have been identified, and each of them is involved in a specific chemical reaction. Thus, enzymes are substrate-specific. They are grouped into half a dozen classes based on the types of reactions in which they take part.

How Many Enzymes Are There In The Human Body

How Many Enzymes Are There In The Human Body

Enzymes allow a large number of reactions to take place in the body under conditions of homeostasis or general biochemical balance. For example, many enzymes function best at a pH (acidity) level close to the pH that the body normally maintains, which is in the 7 range (that is, neither alkaline nor acidic). Other enzymes function best at low pH (high acidity) due to environmental requirements; for example, the inside of the stomach, where some digestive enzymes work, is highly acidic.

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Enzymes are involved in processes ranging from blood clotting to DNA synthesis and digestion. Some are found only in cells and are involved in processes involving small molecules, such as glycolysis; others are secreted directly into the gut and act on bulk substances such as ingested food.

Since enzymes are proteins with a fairly high molecular weight, each of them has a distinct three-dimensional shape. This determines the specific molecules they act on. In addition to being pH-dependent, the form of most enzymes is temperature-dependent, meaning that they function best within a fairly narrow range of temperatures.

Most enzymes work by lowering the activation energy of a chemical reaction. Sometimes their form brings the reactants together, perhaps in the style of a sports team coach or a work group leader who wants to complete a task faster. It is believed that when enzymes bind to a reactant, their shape changes in a way that destabilizes the reactant and makes it more susceptible to any chemical changes associated with the reaction.

Reactions that can proceed without the input of energy are called exothermic reactions. In these reactions, the products or chemicals formed during the reaction have a lower energy level than the chemicals that serve as the ingredients of the reaction. In this way, molecules, like water, “search” for their own (energy) level; atoms “prefer” to be in mechanisms with lower total energy, just as water flows downward to the lowest available physical point. Taking all this together, it becomes clear that exothermic reactions always proceed naturally.

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However, the fact that a reaction will occur even without input says nothing about the rate at which it will occur. If a substance taken into the body is naturally converted into two derivative substances that can serve as direct sources of cellular energy, it is of no use if the reaction naturally takes hours or days. Also, even if the total energy of the products is higher than the energy of the reactants, the energy path is not a smooth descent on the graph; instead, the products must reach a higher energy level than the one they started with, so they can “get over the hump” and the reaction can continue. This initial energy investment in the reactants, which is paid off in the form of products, is the aforementioned activation energy, or E

Oxidoreductases increase the rate of oxidation and reduction reactions. In these reactions, also called redox reactions, one of the reactants donates a pair of electrons that the other reactant receives. An electron pair donor is said to be oxidized and acts as a reducing agent, while an electron pair recipient that is reduced is called an oxidizing agent. It can be said more directly: in such reactions, atoms of oxygen, hydrogen or both move. Examples include cytochrome oxidase and lactate dehydrogenase.

O) to cleave a bond in a molecule to create two daughter products, usually by attaching an -OH (hydroxyl group) from water to one of the products and one -H (hydrogen atom) to the other. Meanwhile, a new molecule is formed from the atoms displaced by the -H and -OH components. The digestive enzymes lipase and sucrase are hydrolases.

How Many Enzymes Are There In The Human Body

Lyases increase the rate of addition of one molecular group to a double bond or the removal of two groups from nearby atoms to form a double bond. They act like hydrolases, except that the removed component is not displaced by water or portions of water. This class of enzymes includes oxalate decarboxylase and isocitrate lyase.

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Isomerases accelerate isomerization reactions. These are reactions in which all the original atoms in the reactant are retained, but rearrange to form an isomer of the reactant. (Isomers are molecules with the same chemical formula but different arrangements.) Examples include glucose-phosphate isomerase and alanine racemase.

Ligases (also called synthetases) increase the rate at which two molecules join together. They usually achieve this by using energy obtained from the breakdown of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Examples of ligases include acetyl-CoA synthetase and DNA ligase.

In addition to changes in temperature and pH, other factors can reduce or disable enzyme activity. In a process called an allosteric interaction, the shape of an enzyme temporarily changes when a molecule binds to a part of it away from where it binds to a reactant. This results in a loss of functionality. It is sometimes useful if the product itself serves as an allosteric inhibitor, because this is usually an indication that the reaction has proceeded to the point where the additional product is no longer required.

In competitive inhibition, a substance called a regulatory compound competes with the reactant for the binding site. It’s like trying to insert multiple working keys into the same lock at the same time. When enough of these regulatory compounds attach to enough of the enzyme present, it slows down or stops the reaction pathway. This can be useful in pharmacology because microbiologists can design compounds that compete with the binding sites of bacterial enzymes, making it much harder for the bacteria to cause disease or survive in the human body, period.

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In noncompetitive inhibition, the inhibitory molecule binds to the enzyme at a site other than the active site, similar to what occurs in an allosteric interaction. Irreversible inhibition occurs when an inhibitor permanently binds to an enzyme or significantly impairs it so that its function cannot be restored. Both nerve gas and penicillin use this type of inhibition, although with very different intentions.

Kevin Beck holds a bachelor’s degree in physics with minors in mathematics and chemistry from the University of Vermont. Formerly with ScienceBlogs.com and editor of Run Strong, he has written for Runner’s World, Men’s Fitness, Competitor and several other publications. More about Kevin and links to his professional work can be found at www.kemibe.com. Obtaining nutrients and energy from food is a multi-step process. For real animals, the first step is ingestion, the act of absorbing food. Then comes digestion, absorption and excretion. In the following sections, each of these stages will be discussed in detail.

Large molecules found in intact food cannot pass through cell membranes. Food must be broken down into smaller particles so that animals can use the nutrients and organic molecules. The first step in this process

How Many Enzymes Are There In The Human Body

. Swallowing is the process of absorbing food through the mouth. In vertebrates, the teeth, saliva and tongue play an important role in chewing (making food into a bolus). While the food is mechanically broken down, the enzymes in the saliva also begin to chemically process the food. The combined action of these processes transforms food from large particles into a soft mass that can be swallowed and that can move down the esophagus.

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Digestion is the mechanical and chemical breakdown of food into small organic fragments. It is important to break down macromolecules into smaller fragments that are of a suitable size for absorption through the digestive epithelium. Large, complex molecules of proteins, polysaccharides, and lipids must be reduced to simpler particles, such as simple sugars, before they can be absorbed by the cells of the digestive epithelium. Different organs play a role in the digestive process. Carbohydrates, proteins and fats, as well as vitamins and inorganic components are necessary for balanced nutrition in the diet of animals. How each of these components is digested is discussed in the following sections.

Digestion of carbohydrates begins in the mouth. The salivary enzyme amylase begins the breakdown of food starch into maltose, a disaccharide. As the food bolus travels down the esophagus into the stomach, significant carbohydrate digestion does not occur. The esophagus does not produce digestive enzymes, but it does

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