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Definition of Coenzyme

Coenzyme: A substance that enhances the action of an enzyme. (An enzyme is a protein that functions as a catalyst to mediate and speed a chemical reaction).

Coenzymes are small molecules. They cannot by themselves catalyze a reaction but they can help enzymes to do so. In technical terms, coenzymes are organic nonprotein molecules that bind with the protein molecule (apoenzyme) to form the active enzyme (holoenzyme).

A number of the water-soluble vitamins such as vitamins B1, B2 and B6 serve as coenzymes.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=13153
Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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