Enzymes

Okay, so today we're going to learn about enzymes. Before I really get into what enzymes do, I want to tell you what they kind of remind me of.

They remind me of this game I used to love to play as a kid. It's called pac-man. if you have never played pac-man, it might be because kind of old, but you need to go play it.

They often have it on google as a little side game, and it is one of the best games. Anyway, enzymes remind me of pac-man because they have this really specific shape.

You see, if you ever played the game, pac-man is this little guy that goes around and he just has this mouth that eats these little pebbles. It's a perfectly shaped mouth for the little pebbles.

Well, enzymes have a perfect shape for whatever they're going to fit. Whatever they fit into their perfect shape is called a substrate. A substrate is something the enzyme can either build up or break down. enzymes can do either one.

Again, I like remembering they have this special shape. i tell myself that enzymes are like pac-man. P for pac-man, p for protein. Enzymes are made of protein. They're not made of lipids or carbs or nucleic acids.

If those don't mean anything to you, don't worry we're going to get to them soon. Just remember that enzymes are made of protein. Now enzymes have the ability to speed up reactions.

Now the reactions, it's not that they wouldn't happen in the first place without the enzyme, it's just that they would speed up because of the enzyme's presence. It helps them go faster than they would have gone.

So if you've ever played the game pac-man, there are these ghosts that go after the pac-man. When the ghosts touch the pac-man, pac-man kind of shrivels up and it makes this sound like < makes pac-man sound>.

Then the pac-man kind of disintegrates. Well, in enzymes, it's a little trickier than that. We don't really have things that go after enzymes, but we do have things that are very bad for enzymes. two of the main things that really affect enzymes are temperature and ph.

Both of those things are very bad for enzymes. Ph are things like acids and bases; they have this ph level that is not ideal for the enzyme.

Temperature is when we are talking about really hot temperatures or really cold temperatures. Now what they do to the enzyme, we don't want to say they hurt the enzyme, or eat the enzyme, or destroy the enzyme.

We really want to say they denature the enzyme. When you think of the word denature, you can think of the word destroy. It basically means the enzyme's shape is no longer any good to ever match with that poor substrate ever again.

So, what does this have to do with anything? are we just learning this for a test? No! This is actually a very important concept. let me give you a real world example.

Say you have a friend that says they are lactose intolerant. What does that mean? Well, someone who is lactose intolerant, you might have observed they are unable to drink milk.

They do not have the ability to drink milk or if they do, they have to be really careful how much they drink because it makes them really sick.

So why is that? Well, milk has a sugar in it called lactose. People who can't break down the lactose, they are missing an enzyme called lactase. Now, you might notice that lactase ends in " ase." many enzymes end is " ase." lactase is one of those kinds of enzymes. so because they don't have this lactase -- this little pac-man enzyme --they can't break down the lactose.

The lactose builds up and makes them feel very, very sick. Pretty soon, you will see they will avoid milk at all costs. So anyway, that is a great real world example of enzymes.

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