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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 12 Issue 5 (2007) pp 322-323

A “Hands-on” Model for Chiral Substrate/Enzyme Interactions

Don A. Kaufman

Department of Chemistry, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Kearney, NE 68849-1150,
Received February 9. 2007. Accepted July 5, 2007.

Published online: 1 October 2007

Abstract. The induced-fit model of enzymes/substrates can be readily modeled by using ones arms/hands that have been marked with circles of three different colors on separate fingers to represent enzymes and tetrahedral carbons connected to balls of four different colors with flexible bonds as the substrates. Furthermore, the stereospecific interaction of enzymes with chiral substrates can be easily demonstrated. Finally, if just one arm/hand is presented, it is easily shown why the body interacts with only one of an enantiomeric pair of chiral substrates.

Key Words: In the Classroom; organic chemistry; biochemistry; enzymes; induced-fit; stereospecificity

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (28 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:

Short videos are provided showing the use of hands with colored circles (the enzymes) and chiral tetrahedral molecules (the chiral substrates) to demonstrate why enzymes interact in a stereospecific manner with chiral substrates (9.7 MB)

Issue date: October 1, 2007

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