Bulletin of Mathematical Biology

, Volume 56, Issue 1, pp 65–106 | Cite as

An evolutionary approach to enzyme kinetics: Optimization of ordered mechanisms

  • Thomas Wilhelm
  • Edda Hoffmann-Klipp
  • Reinhart Heinrich


A theoretical investigation is presented which allows the calculation of rate constants and phenomenological parameters in states of maximal reaction rates for unbranched enzymic reactions. The analysis is based on the assumption that an increase in reaction rates was an important characteristic of the evolution of the kinetic properties of enzymes. The corresponding nonlinear optimization problem is solved taking into account the constraint that the rate constants of the elementary processes do not exceed certain upper limits. One-substrate-one-product reactions with two, three and four steps are treated in detail. Generalizations concern ordered uni-uni-reactions involving an arbitrary number of elementary steps. It could be shown that depending on the substrate and product concentrations different types of solutions can be found which are classified according to the number of rate constants assuming in the optimal state submaximal values. A general rule is derived concerning the number of possible solutions of the given optimization problem. For high values of the equilibrium constant one solution always applies to a very large range of the concentrations of the reactants. This solution is characterized by maximal values of the rate constants of all forward reactions and by non-maximal values of the rate constants of all backward reactions. Optimal kinetic parameters of ordered enzymic mechanisms with two substrates and one product (bi-uni-mechanisms) are calculated for the first time. Depending on the substrate and product concentrations a complete set of solutions is found. In all cases studied the model predicts a matching of the concentrations of the reactants and the corresponding Michaelis constants, which is in good accordance with the experimental data. It is discussed how the model can be applied to the calculation of the optimal kinetic design of real enzymes.


Evolutionary Approach Product Concentration Reactant Concentration Elementary Step Order Rate Constant 
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Copyright information

© Society for Mathematical Biology 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Wilhelm
    • 1
  • Edda Hoffmann-Klipp
    • 1
  • Reinhart Heinrich
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Biophysik, Fachbereich BiologieHumboldt-Universität zu BerlinBerlinGermany

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