A kinetic analysis of coupled (or auxiliary) enzyme reactions


As a case study, we consider a coupled (or auxiliary) enzyme assay of two reactions obeying the Michaelis-Menten mechanism. The coupled 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 is 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 coupled reaction is described by a pair of interacting Michaelis-Menten equations. Moreover, we show that when the indicator reaction is fast, the quasi-steady-state dynamics are governed by three fast variables and one slow variable. 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.