If friends, family, and stuffed turkey aren’t reason enough to thank your lucky stars this Thanksgiving, you can add one more thing to the list – enzymes.
Enzymes speed up the chemical reactions in our bodies. Without them, these reactions would take a very, very long time to work – in one case, more than 2.3 billion years.
Researchers recently estimated that’s how long it would take to complete an essential biological reaction involved in making hemoglobin, the protein in blood that carries oxygen, if it weren’t for the enzyme uroporophyrinogen decarboxylase. That’s also how long it would take a plant to make chlorophyll, the energy-producing molecule in plants, if it were missing this enzyme.
“This study shows how great enzymes are,” says Charles Lewis, one of the scientists involved. Lewis and principal investigator on the study, Richard Wolfenden published their results November 11 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Their findings may have implications for drug design(pdf) and development.
Now isn’t that better than pumpkin pie?
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