Entropic enzymes: The thermodynamics of polymer metabolism

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Entropic enzymes: The thermodynamics of polymer metabolism

  • Datum: 04.11.2016
  • Uhrzeit: 10:00 - 11:00
  • Vortragender: Prof. Dr. Oliver Ebenhöh, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf
  • Ort: Max-Planck-Institut Magdeburg
  • Raum: Kleiner Seminarraum "Wiener"


Enzymes are efficient catalysts of biochemical reactions. Commonly,

enzymes are considered to be highly specific to only a single

biochemical reaction. However, many enzymes have a broad substrate

specificity by recognising certain submolecular patterns of their

substrates and catalysing a particular type of reaction. For

carbohydrate polymers, for example, this leads to the situation in which

a single enzyme can in principle catalyse an infinite number of reactions.

This poses challenges for the theoretical description of such enzymes:

how can the dynamics be described? What determines the equilibrium


We show how the action of polymer-active enzymes can be described by

concepts from statistical thermodynamics. By deriving a formal analogy

between these systems, the importance of the mixing entropy is

highlighted. From this theoretical understanding we develop ideas for

the kinetic description of such enzymes. Further, we find the most

generalised form to determine complex equilibria, and illustrate how

this can be employed to derive a minimal 3-variable model of the

Calvin-Benson-Bassham Cycle.

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