Living systems control their activity through enzymes which are protein molecules acting as a biological catalyst with many characteristics. The major function of an enzyme is to increase the rate of reaction, which allows reactions to occur literally millions of times faster than they would in the absence of an enzyme. What is unique about enzymes is that they react specifically with a substrate to generate a product.

Enzymes are classified based on the overall reaction that they catalyze and are subdivided into six categories. Oxidoreductases catalyze the reduction or oxidation of a molecule. Transferases catalyze the transfer of a group of atom from one molecule to another. Isomerases catalyze the conversion of a molecule into an isomer. Lyases catalyze reactions in which smaller molecules like water and ammonia are added to a double bond. Ligases catalyze reactions in which bonds join together combining smaller molecules to make larger ones. Hydrolases catalyze hydrolysis reactions, along with their reverse reactions, where a molecule is split into two or more smaller molecules by the addition of water. Each of these classes has more specific subclasses as well. The focus of this site will be the hydrolase class of enzymes.

Home | Hydrolases | Amylase | Penicillin Acylase | Pyrophosphatase | Summary and Sources


By Nicholas Piccione