Digital Story- Enzymes

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Information about Digital Story- Enzymes

Published on November 27, 2007

Author: Ktoth



A digital story comparing the action of enzymes to a high school dance.

What is an Enzyme ? … . A protein that catalyzes a chemical reaction. Okay, we’ve defined it but what does it mean? Think of enzymes as matchmakers at a school dance. Imagine 2 people at their first school dance. The music is playing and a boy and girl stand on opposite sides of the gymnasium. Both of them want to dance but neither one of them have the nerve to ask someone. Their hearts are racing and their nervousness level is extremely high. We call this the Transition state .

As you can see from the graph both the girl and the boy are really nervous. Both of them may eventually come together and dance but if we don’t get someone to help us out then we will be waiting FOREVER in hopes that they will bump into each other. Time Level of nervousness

Here is where the enzyme or matchmaker comes in. The matchmaker looks around the gym for people who want to dance but are really nervous. The matchmaker finds a boy and girl then lowers their nervousness level. The matchmaker then joins the hands of the girl and the boy in a specific manner and now they are dancing.

The boy and girl may have eventually asked each other to dance but since their nervousness level was so high, this could have taken forever. The matchmaker lowered their nervousness just like an enzyme. Level of nervousness

The matchmaker is extremely picky on whom she matches during a dance. Imagine how goofy the girl would look dancing with a mannequin. No, that simply would not do! The matchmaker is extremely picky and astute. A girl at the dance is looking for someone to dance. Even if there is a mannequin that looks like a boy, the matchmaker will only match the girl with a living boy.

At the beginning of the dance, the DJ has worked very hard on providing great music and lighting. However, he notices that no one is dancing. Panicked that his efforts are in vain, he asks the matchmaker to get people to groove on the dance floor. We can call the DJ an activator ; he left the DJ booth to tell the matchmaker to get to work.

Now let’s say that the dance floor is completely full. There is no more room for any new couples. Even though there are still single boys and girls against the wall, the matchmaker will stop making couples. It is not until more room becomes available on the dance floor that the matchmaker continues to make matches.

Now the matchmaker is working the crowd, making matches, and doing a great job. But there are literally MILLIONS of boys and girls waiting to dance. Since the matchmaker only has two legs, she could use a bit of help. If she had a laptop computer, she could work a lot faster right? We will call this laptop computer a coenzyme. The coenzyme is something that allows the enzyme to work fast and more efficiently. In this era of computer dependency, some matchmakers can only work if they have their laptop (coenzyme).

Great, the dance is going well and everyone is having a blast. But, like all good things in life, it must come to an end. How do we get rid of all of the dancers? Another enzyme can come onto the dance floor and break the happy couples. We will call this enzyme the separator. She is mean and miserable and never wants anyone to be happy.

The Separator can go onto the dance floor and break the couples up. Just like the matchmaker, she can use a laptop ( coenzyme ) to break up the couples more efficiently. She works in the exact same manner as the matchmaker; however, she breaks the couple apart. The important thing to notice is that even though the matchmaker and the separator are both enzymes, the matchmaker cannot act as a separator and the separator cannot act as a matchmaker.

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