A kinetic analysis of coupled sequential enzyme reactions


As a case study, we consider a coupled enzyme assay of sequential enzyme reactions obeying the Michaelis-Menten reaction mechanism. The sequential reaction consists of a single-substrate, single enzyme non-observable reaction followed by another single-substrate, single enzyme observable reaction (indicator reaction). In this assay, the product of the non-observable reaction becomes the substrate of the indicator reaction. A mathematical analysis of the reaction kinetics is performed, and it is found that after an initial fast transient, the sequential reaction is described by a pair of interacting Michaelis-Menten equations. Timescales that approximate the respective lengths of the indicator and non-observable reactions, as well as conditions for the validity of the Michaelis-Menten equations are derived. The theory can be extended to deal with more complex sequences of enzyme catalyzed reactions.