Competitive Inhibition

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Competitive inhibition is a process whereby an inhibitor chemically resembles a substrate in a metabolic pathway. Because of their similarity, either the inhibitor or the substrate can bind to the substrate's enzyme. When the bacterial enzyme binds to its normal substrate, an enzyme-substrate complex forms and the end products required by that bacterium are made. When the enzyme is bound to the inhibitor, it is unable to bind to its natural substrate and that blocks the production of the end products of that metabolic pathway. If enough inhibitor is present in the bacterium, all of the bacterial enzyme - which is normally present in the cell only in limited amounts - is tied up with the inhibitor and the end products needed for the bacterium's metabolism are not produced.

Flash animation illustrating Competitive Inhibition.swf by Gary E. Kaiser, Ph.D.
Professor of Microbiology, The Community College of Baltimore County, Catonsville Campus
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://faculty.ccbcmd.edu/~gkaiser/index.html.

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Last updated: September, 2018
Please send comments and inquiries to Dr. Gary Kaiser