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Home » Biology Homework Help » Biotechnology » Classification of Enzymes
Classification of Enzymes
Enzymes and classified and named by the commission on Biochemical Nomenclature of the International Union of Biochemistry. An enzyme may be denoted in one of the following 3 accepted ways: (i) a four number code following the letters EC (for Enzyme Commission), e.g. EC 1.1.1.3 (the first number refers to enzyme class, the second to subclass, the third to sub-subclass and the fourth to the serial number of the enzyme within a sub-subclass), (ii) its systematic name based on the above and (iii) its recommended name. The enzymes have been classified in the following 6 classes.

1. Oxidoreductases are involved in redox reactions, i.e. transfer of hydrogen or oxygen atoms between molecules. This class includes: dehydrogenases (hydride transfer), oxidases (e- transfer to O2), oxygenases (oxygen atom transfer from O2), and peroxidases (e- transfer to peroxides). Example, glucose oxidase (EC 1.1.3.4).

2. Transferases catalyse the transfer of an atom or group of atoms (like acyl-, alkyl- and glycosyl groups) between two molecules. The transferred groups are different from those transferred by the other classes of enzymes like oxidoreductases etc. Example, aspartate aminotransferase (EC 2.6.1.1).

3. Hydrolases are those enzymes which catalyze hydrolytic reactions (and group of atoms from the substrate molecule. This class includes aldolases, decarboxylases, dehydratases and some pectinases. Example, histidine ammonia lysae (EC 4.3.1.3).

4. Lyases are involved in elimination reactions resulting in the removal of a group of atoms from the substrate molecule. This class includes aldolases, decarboxylases, dehydratases and some pectinases. Example, histidine ammonia lysae (EC 4.3.1.3).

5. Isomerases catalyse the formation of isomers of molecules; they include epimerases, racemases and intramoelcular transferases. Example, xylose isomerase (EC 5.3.1.5).

6. Ligases or Synthetases catalyze the formation of covalent bonds between two molecules utilizing the energy obtained from hydrolysis of a nucleoside triphosphate like ATP, GTP. Example, glutathione synthase (EC 6.3.2.3).

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