I can deactivate $\alpha$-amylase in ways such as extreme temperature controls, pH controls of the solution it stays in, or adding salt to the solution.

However, are there any other unique or elaborate ways to deactivate the enzyme? (maybe the lock-and-key hypothesis also works for enzymes AND enzymes?)


1 Answer 1


Amylase inhibitors have attracted much attention because of their potential in treating type 2 diabetes.

You can inactivate most enzymes by using a specific inhibitor. One class of inhibitors consists of molecules that resemble the substrate molecules but are not acted upon in the same way. These will bind to the active site and will prevent the substrate from binding. An inhibitor of many amylases is acarbose. This is a competitive inhibitor which means that inhibition is overcome by high concentrations of substrate.

And if that isn't enough to get you started here is an entire thesis on the topic of amylase inhibitors.

If you want to permanently block activity the ideal compound would be one which binds to and covalently modifies the active site, destroying enzyme activity. This would be an irreversible inhibitor. I haven't been able to find a reference to such a compound however.

  • $\begingroup$ So, to conclude, does 'enzyme deactivation' simply means 'deforming its active site'? Since both denaturation and using inhibitors basically mean destroying the enzyme active sites. $\endgroup$
    – hello all
    Oct 13, 2013 at 10:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Greek Fellows - in fact I almost commented upon your choice of "deactivate". In the context of your question I think that "inactivate" is what you mean. To me the word "deactivate" implies that there is a corresponding activation process - so for example an enzyme might be activated by phosphorylation then deactivated by a phosphatase. Also most enzyme inhibitors don't destroy the active site - they block it by competing for binding. $\endgroup$
    – Alan Boyd
    Oct 13, 2013 at 13:16
  • $\begingroup$ yeah, I should have been careful about the wording... $\endgroup$
    – hello all
    Oct 13, 2013 at 13:52

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