Wikipedia:Today's featured article/October 11, 2006

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RuBisCO the world's most abundant enzyme

Enzymes are proteins that accelerate, or catalyze, chemical reactions. In these reactions, molecules called substrates are converted by enzymes into different molecules called products. Almost all processes in the cell need enzymes in order to occur at significant rates. Like all catalysts, enzymes work by providing an alternative path of lower activation energy for a reaction and dramatically increasing its rate; some enzymes can make the conversion of substrate to product occur many millions of times faster. Enzymes are not consumed in chemical reactions, nor do they alter the equilibrium of a reaction. However, enzymes do differ from most other catalysts by being much more specific. Since enzymes are extremely selective for their substrates and speed up only a few reactions, the set of enzymes made in a cell determines which metabolic pathways occur in that cell. Many drugs and poisons work by inhibiting enzyme activity. (more...)

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