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The meaning of the Michaelis-Menten constant: Km describes a steady-state.

By Enric I. Canela, Gemma Navarro, Jose Luis Beltran, Rafael Franco

Posted 13 Apr 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/608232

Often, in vitro or in vivo enzyme-mediated catalytic events occur far from equilibrium and, therefore, substrate affinity measured as the inverse of ESDE+S dissociation equilibrium constant (Kd) has a doubtful physiological meaning; in practice it is almost impossible to determine Kd (except using stopped-flow or other sophisticated methodologies). The Michaelis-Menten constant (Km), the concentration of substrate ([S]) providing half of enzyme maximal activity, is not the (Kd). In the simple E+SDES → E+P or in more complex models describing S conversion into P, Km must be considered the constant defining the steady state at any substrate concentration. Enzyme kinetics is based on initial rate determination, i.e. in the linear part of the S to P conversion when the concentration of [ES] remains constant while steady state occurs. We also show that Systems Biology issues such as the time required to respond to a system perturbation, is more dependent on k1, the kinetic constant defining substrate- enzyme association, than on Km. Whereas Km is instrumental for biochemical basic and applied approaches, in any physiological condition, an important parameter to be considered is the substrate association rate (k1).

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