Cellular concentrations of enzymes and their substrates

J Theor Biol. 1990 Mar 22;143(2):163-95. doi: 10.1016/s0022-5193(05)80266-8.


The activity of crude and pure enzyme preparations as well as the molecular weight of these enzymes were obtained from the literature for several organisms. From these data enzyme concentrations were calculated and compared to the concentration(s) of their substrates in the same organism. The data are expressed as molar ratios of metabolite concentration to enzyme site concentration. Of the 140 ratios calculated, 88% were one or greater, indicating that in general substrates exceed their cognate enzyme concentrations. Of the 17 cases where enzyme exceeds metabolite concentration, 16 were in glycolysis. The data in general justify the use of enzyme kinetic mechanisms determined in vitro in the construction of dynamic models which simulate in vivo metabolism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Cell Compartmentation
  • Enzymes / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Weight
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Enzymes