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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 7 Issue 1 (2002) pp 7-10

Magneto-Mechanical Model of an Enzyme

Juan C. Díaz Ricci

Departamento de Bioquímica de la Nutrición, INSIBIO. Instituto de Química Biológica “Dr. Bernabé Bloj”, Facultad de Bioquímica Química y Farmacia. Chacabuco 461, 4000 - Tucumán, Argentina
Received August 16, 2001. Accepted September 21, 2001

Published online: 1 February 2002

Abstract. It has always been difficult to clearly explain to biochemistry students how enzymes work. The idea of enzyme–substrate stereospecificity, active site, coupled reactions, inhibitor or activator effects, mono- and bisubstrate reactions or any other aspect related to the mechanism of action of enzymes are in general abstract and difficult concepts for students taking introductory courses in biochemistry. On the other hand, students are more familiar with mechanical or magnetic objects, and normally they have no problem understanding how they work. Accordingly, a magneto-mechanical model is proposed as a didactic resource to show in class how enzymes can catalyze biochemical reactions. This model is also helpful for introducing the concept of coupled reactions and many other structural and mechanistic aspects of enzyme reactions.

Key Words:  In the Classroom; biochemistry chemistry; enzymes

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Issue date: February 1, 2002

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