Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Competitive and non competitive inhibitors simplified

Let me present to you the most understandable, simplified, awesome analogy for explaining competitive and non competitive inhibitors =D

When you are hungry, you have affinity for food.
Hunger has affinity for food like enzymes have affinity for substrates.

Enzyme substrate affinity
Rice is the substrate for your hunger.
You happily eat it at some random rate.

Competitive inhibitors decrease affinity
But *plot twist* if you're given a hamburger at the same time..
OBVIOUSLY, your affinity for the burger is more so you eat the burger instead.
The burger acts as a competitive inhibitor.
Lesson learnt: Competitive inhibitors reduces enzyme-substrate affinity.
Increasing substrate concentration - Competitive inhibitor
Say you're still hungry and your burger is surrounded by rice.. *Another twisted plot*
The only way to reach the burger is to eat the rice..
So you eat the rice (since you are hungry anyway, duh!)
Lesson learnt: Competitive inhibitor concentration can be overcome by increasing the substrate concentration.
Preference to substrate than to the competitive inhibitor
What ultimately made you eat the rice?
The increased concentration of the substrate!
Km, the substrate concentration to produce half of Vmax, had increased.
Lesson learnt: Km increases in presence of a competitive inhibitor.

Non competitive inhibitor
Say, you were hungry.. Until you saw something gross and it ruined your appetite.
The "gross thing" is a non competitive inhibitor.

Non competitive inhibitors decrease rate
Even if there is food on the table, you won't wanna eat it or uhh, say if you were gonna eat it really fast, now you roll your eyes and yeah, eat slowly.
Vmax, the maximum rate of a chemical reaction, decreases.
Lesson learnt: Vmax decreases in presence of a non competitive inhibitor.

Increasing substrate - non competitive inhibitor
And since you have a decreased appetite, no matter how much rice is given to ya, you'll eat it at the same slow rate.
Lesson learnt: Increasing substrate concentration will not affect the action of a non-competitive inhibitor.
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When it comes to drugs, there are terms such as efficacy, potency and complex things such as graphs you need to remember - Here are some mnemonics that may help you out.

That's all! <3

Test yourself here.

Wanna reblog? Here's the link to the tumblr post!


  1. Woah,I must say whoever has made this is really very Creative!:) Loved it!;) Had fun too!:)
    Thank you!:) ;)


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