Isomerizations of free enzyme can be detected in kinetic patterns of product inhibition when the isomerization is partially rate-limiting. The kinetic pattern is non-competitive, owing to binding of substrate and product to different forms of free enzyme. This adds an additional term to the rate equation, sometimes represented as KSP. Several kineticists have noted that, as the rate of isomerization becomes high in relation to catalytic turnover, the intercept effect will become small, KSP will approach infinity, and the pattern will look competitive. Britton [(1973) Biochem. J. 133, 255-261] asserted that KSP will also approach infinity when the rate of isomerization becomes low. This second assertion is incorrect and can be traced to the particular model and graphical representation used to examine KSP as a function of relative rate constants. The function portrayed as a parabola with two roots for KSP is, instead, a straight line with one root. The algebraic condition justifying the second root obtains in the limit of zero in the rate of reaction and thus is not experimentally relevant, and the appearance of competitive inhibition, based on KSP alone, is not valid. Using a more general model, new equations are derived and presented which provide direct calculations of the apparent rate constants for free enzyme isomerizations from product-inhibition data when the equilibrium of the isomerization is near 1, and useful limits for the rate constants when greater than or less than 1.

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