Enzymes and Substrates: 7 Facts You Should Know

In this article we are focusing on the topic entitled as “Enzymes and Substrates: 7 Facts You Should Know”, giving the statements and explanatory facts supporting it.

Enzymes are known to be as biological catalysts which are formed of small stretches of amino acids and consisting of one or multiple polypeptide chains. Because of their structural nature they are called proteins, but most important thing to consider is not all proteins act as enzyme. The central function of enzymes is to speed up or fasten any chemical reaction taking place inside the living organisms.

Enzymes are structurally proteins as they are formed of amino acids, there are different types of enzymes having multiple significant functions. Every cell in a living organism carries thousands of enzymes that perform vital functions inside the cells.

Function of Enzymes

All enzyme functions by interacting to specific molecules such as ions or functional groups and gets activated. Upon binding and activation certain morphological changes in the enzyme occurs. Enzymes play an active role in various biological processes for instance, respiration, digestion, wound healing, cell division, etc. Enzymes catalyze any chemical reaction by addition, removal or transferring chemical groups, atoms or electrons.

Enzymes play a significant role in signal transduction process inside and outside the cells. They play a part in transmitting physical and chemical signals for the completion of any process happening inside the cells such as, protein phosphorylation, endocytosis, etc.

enzymes and substrates
Enzyme and Substrate interaction Image from Wikipedia

Examples of Enzymes with Substrates

Enzymes Substrates
Catalase Hydrogen peroxide
Diastase Starch
Pectinase Pectin
Pepsin Protein
Renin Casein
Amylase Carbohydrates
Maltase Disaccharides
Lipase Lipids
Cellulase Cellulose
Examples of enzymes with their substrates

Types of Substrates

An enzyme catalyzes any chemical reaction using substrates, which are converted into one or many products at the end of the chemical reaction while the enzymes are released without being consumed. Substrates are recognized by the enzymes based on the structure and the functional groups they possess.

What is meant by substrate of an enzyme?

A substrate is any substances that is acted upon by the enzyme. An enzyme contains an active site where a substrate load itself and bind to it with weak bonds. Upon binding to the substrate conformational changes occur in the enzyme due to the bond formation.

Enzymes need substrate to operate in any reaction. Enzymes are proteins which are also known as biological catalysts to fasten any chemical reaction by reducing the activation energy. An enzyme can have multiple substrate specificity. The substrates are used up in a chemical reaction while the enzyme is released as such, without being consumed.

What are the examples of substrates in enzymes?

Substrates are required for the enzymes to function in any chemical reactions. Examples of substrates for enzymes include carbohydrates such as glucose, starch, sucrose, maltose, etc. Amino acids and certain proteins are the substrates for the enzymes such as trypsin, chymotrypsin, etc.

How do enzymes interact with their substrates?

There are specific substrates for each enzyme. An enzyme can have multiple substrates. Substrates are recognized based on the structure and the functional groups they possess. Enzymes contain an active site where catalytic amino acids are present which binds to the functional groups present on the substrates thus forms an enzyme-substrate complex.

Sometimes two enzymes are involved catalyzing the reactions consecutively using the same substrates, in such cases substrates are channeled from one enzyme to the next one. Here the substrate is first diffused into the active site of the first enzyme and the product formed by it act as substrate for another enzyme and diffuses into its active site.

When do enzymes interact with their substrates?

Substrates are small molecules that are needed for the enzymes to function in speeding up a chemical reaction. The nature of enzyme action is specific both structurally and mechanically in the chemical reaction they are involved. The active site of the enzymes is available for the substrates to bind which is specific. Substrates are reduced into the products but not the enzymes.

Enzymes are used over and over again in a chemical reaction till the substrate they are reacting upon is available in the system. Enzymes are flexible and reshapes themselves when binds to a specific substrate. Enzymes participates in both catabolism and anabolism process to form a final product using several substrates or to break down a complex molecule using substrates.

Why do enzymes need substrates?

A substrate is defined as any chemical or biological substance which is being consumed in the chemical reaction by an enzyme to form a product. Enzymes play a significant role in promoting chemical reactions using substrates. Once the specific substrates bind on the active site of the enzyme, then an enzyme-substrate complex is formed.

The formation of enzyme-substrate complex reduces the activation energy which promotes the onset of the reaction by adding ions and certain chemical groups that bind using covalent bonds with the substrates and reduce it to the products.

What is the difference between a substrate, product and enzyme?

Enzyme Substrate Product
Enzyme acts as a catalyst that fastens a chemical reaction. Substrates are the molecules that are used by the enzymes to perform in a chemical reaction. Products are the end material of the chemical reactions.
Enzymes are the catalyst in the reaction. Substrates are the raw materials to initiate the chemical reaction. Substrates are reduced into the products.
Enzymes do not get consumed in the reaction and are released as such at the end of the reaction with products. Substrates are reduced into the products by enzymes. Products are released at the end of the reaction. They can also act as the substrate for the consecutive reaction.
Difference Between Enzyme, Substrate and Product

How do enzymes convert substrates into products?

All the enzyme possesses an active site which is of a particular shape and specific to certain substrates. When substrates are added to the medium, they bind to the active sites present on the enzyme based on their specificity using non-covalent interactions. This binding on the enzyme with the substrates forms an intermediate complex known as the Enzyme-substrate complex.

The substrates are broken down into the products at the active site. The products and the enzymes are released at the end of any chemical reaction. Enzymes remain unchanged and is shifted to the next reaction for its catalysis.


To conclude the article, we can say that enzymes play an important role in speeding up the chemical reactions and they functions with the help of the substrates and convert them into the product at the end.

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