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Title Chemical keys to an understanding of life processes
Subject Biochemistry ; Nucleic acids; Proteins
Description Twenty Second Annual Frederick William Reynolds Lecture.
Creator Smith, Emil L., 1911-
Publisher Extension Division, University of Utah
Date 1958-01-13
Date Digital 2008-05-29
Type Text
Format image/jpeg
Digitization Specifications Original scanned on Epson Expression 10000XL flatbed scanner and saved as 400 ppi uncompressed tiff. Display images generated in PhotoshopCS and uploaded into CONTENTdm Aquisition Station.
Resource Identifier,564
Source LD5526.U8 n.s. v.49 no.11
Language eng
Relation Digital reproduction of "Chemical keys to an understanding of life processes," J. Willard Marriott Library Special Collections
Rights Digital Image Copyright University of Utah
Metadata Cataloger Seungkeol Choe; Ken Rockwell
ARK ark:/87278/s6c8277g
Setname uu_fwrl
Date Created 2008-07-29
Date Modified 2008-07-31
ID 319868
Reference URL

Page Metadata

Title Page9
Description CHEMICAL KEYS TO AN UNDERSTANDING OF LIFE PROCESSES 9 What is the structure of the protein which enables it to perform its function so efficiently and so specifically? What are the differences among various proteins that make each one so specific ? The enzyme catalase is not only efficient but is specific. It reacts with great speed only with hydrogen peroxide, very slowly with a few other similar peroxides and not at all with other types of molecules. Similarly, the enzymes which react with sugars or fats or other substances are equally specific. Obviously, something is built into the protein molecule which permits it to react with only one or a limited number of molecules and prevents it from reacting to a significant degree with other types of molecules. This specificity, as it is called, is characteristic of all enzymes and of the groups of enzymes in different types of cells. IV How can we approach the problem of specificity? Suppose we consider a relatively simple molecule such as the amino acid alanine which contains carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen. The structure of this molecule is CH3 I H9N-C-COOH I H If we look at the different atoms or groups of atoms in this molecule, there is nothing distinctive about any part of it; the CH3 group is present in tens of thousands of other molecules, the NH2 and COOH groups are also each present in a vast number of other molecules. It is the position of each atom or group in its relationship to all the other atoms of the molecule which confers its distinctive character. Because of the particular arrangement of atoms in the alanine molecule it is unique, and no other molecule present in living organisms or synthesized in the laboratory has or can have all the properties of alanine. An enzyme, being specific, must be able to recognize not just the CH3 group, the NH2 group or the COOH, it must be able to recognize all of these in their correct spatial relationship. In other words, there must be built into the enzyme protein, chemical information which permits it to recognize or react with its specific substrate. Thus, in the enzyme, specific chemical groupings must be present at the correct distances. As the great chemist, Emil Fischer,
Format image/jpeg
Identifier 014-RNLT-SmithE_Page9.jpg
Source Original Manuscript: Chemical keys to an understanding of life processes by Emil L. Smith.
Setname uu_fwrl
Date Created 2008-07-29
Date Modified 2008-07-29
ID 319850
Reference URL