Some Kinetic Aspects of Crosslink Biosynthesis
Given enough time, a mixture of chemicals will undergo a series of reactions until it reaches an equilibrium. At equilibrium there may be a complex mixture of products, or an overwhelming preponderance of a few. Biochemical systems are not at equilibrium, fortunately. Reactions of organic molecules in neutral aqueous solutions are relatively slow, so the chemical make-up is largely determined by kinetic constraints. Millions of possible reactions could occur in the enormously complex mixture of biochemical substances, but most of them proceed at vanishingly small rates under normal physiological conditions. We are, therefore, used to the notion that living organisms control their chemistry by using enzymes to catalyze a relatively small number of the possible reactions. In this way they can channel nutrients into specific pathways for the efficient release of energy, or build them up into other needed molecules such as proteins and nucleic acids. Almost instinctively, we now feel that biochemical processes are completely determined in this way, that they will go by one fixed route, uniquely fixed by the presence of an enzyme for each step. I propose that this is not an adequate way of looking at processes such as the crosslinking of elastin, unless perhaps we regard elastin itself as an enzyme.
KeywordsLysyl Oxidase Kinetic Aspect Efficient Release Neutral Aqueous Solution Local Conformation
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