Without enzymes, our bodies would not be able to function at all. It helps carry out so many crucial functions in our bodies. Now, you may wonder, just like we have enzymes, do plant cells have enzymes? Yes, they do and they play an important role as well.
Here, we’ll also talk about the combination of enzymes and plants. What are you waiting for? Let’s get into the real discussion about plant enzymes now!
What do Enzymes do in Plant Cells?
Enzymes do wonders for plant growth and development. The soil in which plants are rooted has enzymes that help in the interaction of plants with essential nutrients from the soil. The very basic function of enzymes is to make the biochemical reactions of plants faster. Furthermore, they also help in breaking down the waste in the soil.
Carnivorous plants, meaning plants that get their nutrients and energy from absorbing other living organisms and not through photosynthesis, release digestive enzymes. These digestive enzymes include proteases, peptidases, lipases, amylases, and nucleases.
Carbohydrate is broken down to glucose for absorption with the help of amylase, lipases are responsible for the breakdown of fats, and proteases and peptidases convert large chains of protein to amino acids that the plant can absorb.
These enzymes in carnivorous plants are released from modified leaves, where the insect/living organism is caught.
Plants also have enzymes that help them in dealing with abiotic and biotic stress. Additionally, there are plant enzymes that can help regulate the metabolism of the plant as well.
Do Plant Cells Have Enzymes?
Let’s first look at what enzymes are. Enzymes are biological catalysts, and they are large proteins. This means they are substances that speed up reactions in living organisms and do not get used up in the process. Moving on to the main question, are there enzymes in plants? Yes, there are many different types of enzymes in plants, and they have a wide range of functions.
Some common enzymes that plants have are esterase, phosphatase, glucanase, peroxidase, urease, lipase, proteases, amylase, etc. We will be going into further details about what enzymes do in plant cells in the following section.
You should know that for enzymes to work optimally, the environmental conditions around the plant have to be proper. For example, the temperature must be around 92 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The pH also has to be anywhere between 3.0 and 9.0, or else the enzymes may get denatured.
Fun fact: when we eat greens and vegetables, the enzymes inside the plant cells help a lot in digesting all the food.
Enzymes and Plant Stress Response
Cytochrome P450s, also commonly known as CYPs, are a group of enzymes that are present in most living organisms. In plants, CYPs have several functions that include detoxifying xenobiotics. Another very important job that this enzyme family has to do is they have to biosynthesize phytohormones, metabolites, and antioxidants as well.
Under drought stress, plants start enzyme activities that are necessary for maintaining the homeostasis processes, and accumulation of osmolyte, among other things. Hormones such as ABA play a major role in the plant stress response, but CYPs also help the plant. When there is a lot of drought stress, this enzyme family increases, forming grains and synthesizing leaf lignin.
When the temperature gets too high or low, some CYPs are upregulated to catalyze some biochemical reactions to prevent the plant from getting damaged due to the temperature stress. However, it has to be noted if the temperature goes up or drops to extremes, enzyme activity may stop, and the plant may get irreversibly damaged.
In recent research and development, it has also been discovered that the Malic enzyme (another plant enzyme) helps the plant in becoming resistant to biotic and abiotic stress.
Enzymes and Plant Cell Metabolism
There have been a lot of research results showing that the Malic enzymes (ME) help in regulating the metabolism in plant cells. Research done on melons, peaches, and oil crops has shown that the levels of different malic enzymes are upregulated during the growth of the plants.
Therefore, this illustrates the point that Malic enzymes are involved in several metabolic processes of plants necessary for growth and development.
Let us come back to our very first question again. Do plant cells have enzymes? Of course, they do! As you can see that, plant enzymes are essential for the survival and growth of plants. They also help a lot in regulating plant metabolism and in responding to stress from the environment.
We have tried to give a brief, but a clear idea of plant enzymes in our article for people who are not yet familiar with the technicalities and complex terminologies used in scientific journals. However, if you wish to know more about specific plant enzymes, we would encourage you to go ahead and read scientific journals on them.
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