Enzyme Inhibitor: Definition & Examples

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Optimum pH for Enzymes

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

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 What Is an Enzyme?
  • 1:09 Competitive Inhibition
  • 1:43 Non-Competitive Inhibition
  • 2:12 Uncompetitive Inhibition
  • 2:33 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

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

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Katie Chamberlain

Katie has a PhD in Microbiology and has experience preparing online education content in Biology and Earth Science.

Enzyme inhibition is an important process of regulation within the cell. In this lesson, you will learn what an enzyme is and three ways that it can be inhibited.

What Is an Enzyme?

Enzymes are important workers in a cell. They can put things together, break things apart, and switch things on or off. The molecule (usually a protein) that an enzyme works on is called the substrate.

Like a worker in a factory, an enzyme is fine-tuned to do one specific job. In the cell, this job might be adding a phosphate group, cleaving a protein, or many other functions. Let's imagine that we have an enzyme that works in a toy factory. Its specific job might be to put the arms on toy soldiers.

Enzymes are catalysts that make reactions happen faster. Often, they make the difference between whether a job gets done or whether it doesn't. So, if the body wants to turn a reaction on or off, it usually just turns the enzyme on or off. Enzyme inhibitors are a common way that the body turns off enzymes.

Inhibitors are usually proteins. They interact with the enzyme in some way to prevent it from doing its job. There are three major types of enzyme inhibition: competitive inhibition, non-competitive inhibition, and uncompetitive inhibition.

Competitive Inhibition

Enzymes have one specific spot on them where they act on a substrate. This part of the enzyme is called the active site. This is where the magic happens. In our example, the hand of the factory worker would be the active site.

A competitive inhibitor binds in the active site. This prevents the enzyme from binding to the substrate. When the active site is blocked, the reaction cannot occur. It is like the inhibitor and the substrate are competing for the active site. This would be like putting a lunchbox in factory worker's hands so that he can't pick up the toy soldier pieces.

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 200 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