Biology as Poetry: Biochemistry

Bacteriophage Ecology Group

Enzyme Inhibitor

Molecule or ion that, upon binding, serves to reduce the activity of protein catalysts.

Enzyme inhibition is typically differentiated into competitive inhibition, on the one hand, and allosteric inhibition on the other. The latter especially is associated with mechanisms of feedback or end-product inhibition. One can also distinguish among inhibition mechanisms that are useful to organisms versus those inhibitors that instead serve as metabolic poisons. See by contrast enzyme activitors.

Enzyme inhibitors can be harnessed as drugs. Sulfanilimides, a.k.a., sulfa drugs, for example, competitively inhibit folic acid synthesis by mimicking the normal substrate, PABA, thereby displaying antibacterial activity. Protease inhibitors and integrase inhibitors are additional enzyme inhibiting drugs, in this case which also display antimicrobial activity.

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