Basics of Biology

Enzymes—and Proteins—at Work

Do enzymes only work in specific environments?

Yes, enzymes do seem picky when it comes to their environment. This is because changes in temperature and pH can cause the structure of a protein to change. Thus, every enzyme has criteria that must be met in order for it to perform its function. For example, the amylase that is active in the mouth cannot function in the acidic environment of the stomach, and pepsin, which breaks down proteins in the stomach, cannot function in the mouth.


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