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Keywords:

  • enzyme mechanisms;
  • viscosity dependence;
  • internal friction;
  • energy landscape;
  • roughness;
  • Arrhenius plot;
  • Kramers theory

Abstract

The empirical concept of internal friction was introduced 20 years ago. This review summarizes the results of experimental and theoretical studies that help to uncover the nature of internal friction. After the history of the concept, we describe the experimental challenges in measuring and interpreting internal friction based on the viscosity dependence of enzyme reactions. We also present speculations about the structural background of this viscosity dependence. Finally, some models about the relationship between the energy landscape and internal friction are outlined. Alternative concepts regarding the viscosity dependence of enzyme reactions are also discussed. ©2012 IUBMB Life, 65(1):35–42, 2013