Coenzyme: Definition & Examples

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: How a Phospholipid Bilayer Is Both Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 Enzymes and Coenzymes
  • 0:55 Coenzymes
  • 2:45 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jeremy Battista
Even the most simplistic organisms can be complex. There are many inner workings of individual cells that occur in order for us to survive. At times, the cells need help completing their tasks. This lesson explores cells co-workers or the coenzymes.

Enzymes and Coenzymes

Before we talk about coenzymes, it might be best to ask ourselves, 'What are enzymes and what do they do?' An enzyme is a protein, more importantly a catalytic protein. You may recall from a chemistry class that a catalyst is something that speeds up a reaction without actually being consumed in the reaction. Enzymes are those catalysts in our bodies.

Here we see an enzyme attaching to a substrate, including active site and ultimately the product from the reaction.
Enzyme

Enzymes attach to a substrate at an active sight and the reaction transforms the substrate. Enzymes account for many of the reactions that occur in our bodies. There are three characteristics of enzymes. One characteristic is to speed up a reaction. The second characteristic of an enzyme is that they work with only one particular substrate or reactant. The third is that enzymes are regulated from low to high activity. In fact, the reactions that they work with are somewhere in the ballpark of a million times faster than a regular cellular reaction on its own.

Coenzymes

How do coenzymes fit into this idea of enzymes? Sometimes enzymes cannot complete the reaction on their own, they need help. They find help in the form of non-protein units called cofactors. These cofactors can bind to the substrate that the enzyme will react with or they can bind to the active site, or specific shape of the enzyme. Often these are inorganic, meaning they are compounds that do not contain carbon. These would include most metal ions. Metal ions are atoms with uneven numbers of protons and electrons. If the cofactor is indeed organic, containing carbon, we call it a coenzyme. Without the cofactor, the enzyme might have some trouble working with the substrate. The cofactor, or coenzyme, allows the reaction to happen quickly.

This is a prime example of an enzyme working with a cofactor.
Enzyme Cofactors

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account
Support