Allosteric enzymes are enzymes that change their conformational ensemble upon binding of an effector, which results in an apparent change in binding affinity at a different ligand binding site. This "action at a distance" through binding of one ligand affecting the binding of another at a distinctly different site, is the essence of the allosteric concept. Allostery plays a crucial role in many fundamental biological processes, including but not limited to cell signaling and the regulation of metabolism. Allosteric enzymes need not be oligomers as previously thought, and in fact many systems have demonstrated allostery within single enzymes.
Whereas enzymes without coupled domains/subunits display normal Michaelis-Menten kinetics, most allosteric enzymes have multiple coupled domains/subunits and show cooperative binding. Generally speaking, such cooperativity results in allosteric enzymes displaying a sigmoidal dependence on the concentration of their substrates in positively cooperative systems. This allows most allosteric enzymes to greatly vary catalytic output in response to small changes in effector concentration. Effector molecules, which may be the substrate itself (homotropic effectors) or some other small molecule (heterotropic effector), may cause the enzyme to become more active or less active by redistributing the ensemble between the higher affinity and lower affinity states. The binding sites for heterotropic effectors, called allosteric sites, are usually separate from the active site yet thermodynamically coupled. Allosteric Database (ASD, http://mdl.shsmu.edu.cn/ASD) provides a central resource for the display, search and analysis of the structure, function and related annotation for allosteric molecules, including allosteric enzymes and their modulators. Each enzyme is annotated with detailed description of allostery, biological process and related diseases, and each modulator with binding affinity, physicochemical properties and therapeutic area.
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