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Unit 3

3.1 Enzyme Structure

1 min readmay 30, 2020


Caroline Koffke

AP Biology 🧬

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Enzymes are biological catalysts that are made of protein. The specific pattern of amino acids that make up an enzyme determines its three-dimensional shape and the substrate that it will act upon. The three-dimensional shape of an enzyme forms an active site. This site is where the substrate, or molecule that the enzyme acts upon, binds to the enzyme.

Image courtesy of WikiMedia Commons.


In typical biology terms, structure determines function. Any change in the structure of the enzyme or substrate will affect the ability of a reaction to occur. The specific structure of the enzyme binds to the substrate, and catalysis occurs. Substrates may be bound together, broken apart, or altered in some way.
The bond between an enzyme and its substrate is referred to as an induced fit. When the substrate binds to the active site, chemical bonds strengthen and allow the active site to fit more snugly around the substrate. This is an important part of the paired reaction that will occur.

Image courtesy of WikiMedia Commons.

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