1 Jun, 2017 570 Biology

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss enzymes, the proteins that control the speed of chemical reactions in living organisms. Without enzymes, these reactions would take place too slowly to keep organisms alive: with their actions as catalysts, changes which might otherwise take millions of years can happen hundreds of times a second. Some enzymes break down large molecules into smaller ones, like the ones in human intestines, while others use small molecules to build up larger, complex ones, such as those that make DNA. Enzymes also help keep cell growth under control, by regulating the time for cells to live and their time to die, and provide a way for cells to communicate with each other.

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  • Nigel Richards No other episodes
    Professor of Biological Chemistry at Cardiff University
  • Sarah Barry No other episodes
    Lecturer in Chemical Biology at King's College London
  • Jim Naismith 2 episodes
    Director of the Research Complex at Harwell, Bishop Wardlaw Professor of Chemical Biology at the University of St Andrews, Professor of Structural Biology at the University of Oxford

Reading list

  • Biochemistry
    Jeremy M. Berg, John L. Tymoczko and Lubert Stryer (W. H. Freeman, 2002) Google Books →
  • An Introduction to Enzyme and Coenzyme Chemistry
    T. D. H. Bugg (Wiley-Blackwell, 2004) Google Books →
  • Understanding the Structure and Function of Enzymes
    Jonathan Clark
  • Discovering Enzymes
    David Dressler and Huntington Potter (Scientific American Library, 1991) Google Books →
  • Amino Acids & Enzymes: What Are They, Why Do You Need Them
    Brian B. Jacques (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014) Google Books →
  • The Chemistry of Life
    Steven Rose (Penguin, 1999) Google Books →

Related episodes

Programme ID: b08rp369

Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08rp369

Auto-category: 572 (Biochemistry)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. Enzymes are essential to life.