Are enzymes alive?

By: Sarah Montgomery (School of Chemistry)
Competition Year: 2018
Votes (2) | Comments (0)
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Are enzymes alive?

My supervisor said this is a stupid question.
They’re proteins, long chains of amino acids.
Made in the cell, where they grow and grow,
Sometimes fast, sometimes slow,
While they coil and fold
Until the code says ‘stop’.

We want them to be active,
and they also should be strong; better yet, strong and stable.
We push them and we test them:
Fast and fit? Weak? Mislabelled?!

Then take X-rays of our subjects,
Try to figure out their tricks.
But these shapshots cannot show us
the enzyme breathing. Well, flexing. Wait… what’s the scientific term for that?

It’s true they aren’t alive. I ask them questions nonetheless:
Are you warm enough to thrive?
Can I put you under stress?
What if I… oh
I think
it died.
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