I am currently stuck on working out how to answer this question:

"A random mutation causes the enzyme ATP synthase to change shape so that it can no longer function. Describe the impact this would have upon respiration and the overall production of ATP."

My question is: How does changing the shape of ATP synthase specifically prevent the enzyme from working any longer?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ That shouldn't get you stuck - just delete the word "shape" from the question (since it doesn't affect the answer). $\endgroup$
    – mgkrebbs
    Oct 10, 2016 at 18:21

1 Answer 1


If you look at an enzyme and its substrate you can also see this as a lock (the enzyme) and the key (the substrate). The key fits the lock and opens it, the substrate fits into the active pocket of the enzyme and a reaction takes place. See this figure for illustration (from here):

enter image description here

If the enzyme (or the substrate) changes its outer shape (this is what happens when amino acids of a protein are changed), this fit will not happen anymore and the reaction which is catalysed by the enzyme will not take place (the lock will not open).


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