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Specificity of Enzymes
One of the properties of enzymes that makes them so important as diagnostic and research tools is the specificity they exhibit relative to the reactions they catalyze. A few enzymes exhibit absolute specificity; that is, they will catalyze only one particular reaction. Other enzymes will be specific for a particular type of chemical bond or functional group. In general, there are four distinct types of specificity:
Absolute specificity - the enzyme will catalyze only one reaction.
Group specificity - the enzyme will act only on molecules that have specific functional groups, such as amino, phosphate and methyl groups.
Linkage specificity - the enzyme will act on a particular type of chemical bond regardless of the rest of the molecular structure.
Stereochemical specificity - the enzyme will act on a particular steric or optical isomer.
Though enzymes exhibit great degrees of specificity, cofactors may serve many apoenzymes. For example, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) is a coenzyme for a great number of dehydrogenase reactions in which it acts as a hydrogen acceptor. Among them are the alcohol dehydrogenase, malate dehydrogenase and lactate dehydrogenase reactions.