Q:

What is the molecule on which an enzyme acts called?

A:

The molecule on which an enzyme acts is called a substrate. Enzymes are very specific and usually act on a particular substrate, where the substrate fits into the enzyme at a region called the active site. Enzymes can divide a substrate into two different substances or add two substrates together.

Substrates fit into the active site of enzymes, but the shape of the active site is so specific that only a certain substrate can fit. The lock-and-key theory states that the substrate fits into the enzyme like a key into a lock; only the correct key induces the enzyme to act. Another theory, the induced-fit theory, states that only a particular substrate can fit into the active site and transform it so that the active site fits snugly around the substrate, thus activating the enzyme.

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