As a part of my inorganic chem. course (it's a required course at my college), we have a module called Introduction to Bioinorganic Chemistry. There, the prof. showed examples of enzymes like Cytochrome P450 and the drug erythromycin, and circled the active portions.

From what I can see, the active portions are a tiny portion of the actual drug/enzyme, so my question is: why do enzymes (and drugs, for that matter) have huge structures surrounding them?

I tried Googling my question but couldn't find anything relevant to what I was looking for. I suspect that I wasn't using the correct terminology, so the search engine had no idea what I wanted to know.

Simple explanations are preferred, preferably from the high-school level biochemistry side. I've never taken a biology course in school or college. I am a math major and this inorganic chemistry course is a required one. However, I still want to know why the amino acid chains are required, as they don't seem to be doing anything (that's what the active site is for.)

Picture for reference: Slide from pre-recorded lecture showing the structures of cytochrome P450 and erythromycin and their active sites.


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