What Can Cause an Enzyme to Lose Function?

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A number of things can cause an enzyme to lose function, like its overall size. Find out what can cause an enzyme to lose function with help from an experienced educator in this free video clip.

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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Robin Higgins and this is what can cause an enzyme to lose function. All right so an enzyme is a type of protein and so they're very complicated usually very large structures and have these very complex 3D shapes that need to be perfectly kept at all times. So let's say that our enzyme is here and it has even though it looks very complicated this is its little pocket right here. And here's the substrates going to go and it will come out once it's done. So let's say it needs to change this guy change them in to a triangle. Of course these are just random shapes to show you what an enzyme does with its chemical. So if this is what an enzyme looks like when it's healthy and it turns this little circle in to a triangle, the things that will cause it to lose function involve anything that's basically going to mess up this enzyme being able to accept this little circle. And so that could include among other things changing the pH so that the enzyme lost its shape or lost some of the hydrogens it needed or it gained too many hydrogen bonds. You could change the temperature. So if you raise it too high or too low it will get too rigid or it will get too free and it will start to denature. So denature is when it just loses its function because it loses its shape and so besides changing the pH and temperature, what if you introduced a bunch of other molecules that looked like this. And let's say now that you have a bunch of pink spheres let's say these are exactly the same except what these pink spheres do is that once they enter this little hole they'll never come out again. So that means that because of competition with another small molecule, you would ruin all these enzymes because once they got a pink which they eventually would, then they wouldn't be able to accept greens anymore. So there's lots of different things that can cause an enzyme to lose function basically anything I mean enzymes aren't exactly fragile but you can't go around willy nilly messing up the conditions that they need because they need extremely specific conditions. So anything that messes up its ability to put its substrate in its pocket and change it in to what it needs. I'm Robin Higgins and this is what could cause an enzyme to lose function.


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