Irreversible inhibition is often referred to as denaturation. Covalent bonds or other strong bonds permanently bind the inhibitor to the active site of the enzyme, stopping all possibility for catalytic reactions. Think a competitive inhibitor that is really, really tough. It just does not let go.
Activators are on the other end of the spectrum. Substances which increase the rate of reactions an enzyme undergoes. Think of these as “boosters” that help the enzyme work more efficiently. Glutamine is one activator that increases reactions in salivary amylase, breaking down starch faster. This results in foods with high starch content, like corn, tasting sweet on the tongue. Sometimes substrates themselves act as activators. When an active site is partially filled by one substrate, another may become more likely to fill in the active site and complete a reaction. This is due to the polarity and orientation of the combined enzyme and substrate drawing a stronger attraction.
If an enzyme can be denatured by changing its shape, then is it possible to renature it? Logical thought would indicate that a simple “reforming” of the 3D structure would render an enzyme effective again. This would be correct. The problem lies when an enzyme has been denatured so badly that it cannot “reform”. Coagulation of proteins occurs when an extreme level of denaturation occurs. Basically, the changed structure of the protein matrix causes binding with other protein formations, and the “sticking together” renders them unable to be pulled apart without destroying the original amino chains.
After several years of providing hazardous materials training and maintenance for the world's largest brewing facility, JD began home brewing countless varieties of craft beer. Some early success and a detour with industrial scientific research engaged his interests in industrial equipment and complex science, while working at a liquid yeast supplier pointed him specifically towards enzymes. Currently heading Bircus Brewing Company in Ludlow, KY, JD blends contemporary flavors with traditional science and innovative techniques. With over a decade of operational brewing and independent contracting experience across 5 time zones, he has amassed a plethora of knowledge to share with fellow brewers.