Non-competitive inhibition

Non-competitive inhibition

Non-competitive inhibition is a type of enzyme inhibition where the inhibitor reduces the activity of the enzyme and binds equally well to the enzyme whether or not it has already bound the substrate.[1]

The inhibitor may bind to the enzyme whether or not the substrate has already been bound, but if it has a higher affinity for binding the enzyme in one state or the other, it is called a mixed inhibitor.[1]


  • Terminology 1
  • Mechanism 2
  • Equation 3
  • Example: noncompetitive inhibitors of CYP2C9 enzyme 4
  • References 5


It is important to note that while all non-competitive inhibitors bind the enzyme at allosteric sites (i.e. locations other than its active site)—not all inhibitors that bind at allosteric sites are non-competitive inhibitors.[1][2] In fact, allosteric inhibitors may act as competitive, non-competitive, or uncompetitive inhibitors.[1]

Many sources continue to conflate these two terms,[3][4] or state the definition of allosteric inhibition as the definition for non-competitive inhibition.


Illustration of a possible mechanism of non-competitive or mixed inhibition.

Non-competitive inhibition models a system where the inhibitor and the substrate may both be bound to the enzyme at any given time. When both the substrate and the inhibitor are bound, the enzyme-substrate-inhibitor complex cannot form product and can only be converted back to the enzyme-substrate complex or the enzyme-inhibitor complex. Non-competitive inhibition is distinguished from general mixed inhibition in that the inhibitor has an equal affinity for the enzyme and the enzyme-substrate complex.

The most common mechanism of non-competitive inhibition involves reversible binding of the inhibitor to an allosteric site, but it is possible for the inhibitor to operate via other means including direct binding to the active site. It differs from competitive inhibition in that the binding of the inhibitor does not prevent binding of substrate, and vice versa, it simply prevents product formation for a limited time.

This type of inhibition reduces the maximum rate of a chemical reaction without changing the apparent binding affinity of the catalyst for the substrate (Kmapp – see Michaelis-Menten kinetics).


In the presence of a non-competitive inhibitor, the apparent enzyme affinity is equivalent to the actual affinity. In terms of Michaelis-Menten kinetics, Kmapp = Km. This can be seen as a consequence of Le Chatelier's Principle because the inhibitor binds to both the enzyme and the enzyme-substrate complex equally so that the equilibrium is maintained. However, since some enzyme is always inhibited from converting the substrate to product, the effective enzyme concentration is lowered.


V_{max}^{app} = \frac{V_{max}}{1+\frac{K_I}}
{apparent\ [E]_0} = \frac{K_I}}

Example: noncompetitive inhibitors of CYP2C9 enzyme

Noncompetitive inhibitors of CYP2C9 enzyme include nifedipine, tranylcypromine, phenethyl isothiocyanate, and 6-hydroxyflavone. Computer docking simulation and constructed mutants substituted indicate that the noncompetitive binding site of 6-hydroxyflavone is the reported allosteric binding site of CYP2C9 enzyme.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d "Types of Inhibition". Retrieved 2 April 2012. 
  2. ^ "Non Competitive Inhibitors". 
  3. ^ "Noncompetitive inhibition and allosteric inhibition". Biology Online (forum). Retrieved 2 April 2012. 
  4. ^ "Noncompetitive Inhibition". Retrieved 2 April 2012. 
  5. ^ Si Dayong, Wang Y, Guo Y, Wang J, Zhou H, Zhou Y-H, Li Z-S, Fawcett JP (2008). Mechanism of CYP2C9 inhibition by flavones and flavonols. Drug Metabolism and Disposition. doi:10.1124/dmd.108.023416 [2]
  1. Berg, Jeremy M.; Tymoczko, John L.;