Proteins and Enzymes

ID #1759

We know enzymes don't speed up the equilibrium of a reaction, and they work the same for the forward and reverse reaction. Does it mean that they lower the Activation Energy for each reaction, because if they worked the same for each one, couldn't they theoretically just take what they just created, and make it back into what they started with?

Yes, enzymes lower the activation energy the same amount for both forward and reverse reactions. They don't "speed up" the equilibrium, because an equilibrium isn't a rate, but they do speed up the rate at which the equilibrium point is reached. And yes, for a reaction in which the products have about the same energy level as substrates, as soon as one is formed, it could get sent right back in the other direction. But most cellular reactions aren't set up like this; they're significantly endergonic in one direction and exergonic in the other direction.

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