The senior author (Cleland) had perhaps the greatest influence of anyone on the practice of enzyme kinetics during the 1960s and 1970s, as witnessed by the very large number of papers from that period that acknowledge his contribution to the work presented, and by the large number of papers that continue to use his terminology and way of representing reaction mechanisms. (Younger biochemists will perhaps not know that he gave the ping pong mechanism its name.) However, until now his recommendations on the subject were not conveniently gathered together in one book, and it was necessary either to go back to his well known series of papers published in 1963 or to various later review articles. This book will be welcome, therefore, to anyone in search of a modern source.
It is a measure of how little the subject has changed that a large part of the book could have been written in 1963; indeed, it gives the impression that large parts of it were indeed written then. The major advance that is covered in detail is the development of the use of isotopes for studying enzyme mechanisms, including both the use of isotopes as labels and the use of kinetic isotope effects as mechanistic probes. Around 100 pages, or about a quarter of the book, are devoted to these topics, and for readers already thoroughly conversant with the 1963 papers these pages will constitute the most valuable part, the part they are most likely to consult in the future. As both authors have made important contributions to the use of isotopes, it is no surprise that the treatment is masterly.
Some other parts of the book are more disappointing. The treatment of pre-steady-state kinetics is superficial: the major methods, such as stopped-flow, rapid quenching and relaxation (temperature jump etc.) are briefly described, but with little indication of what they are useful for. Similar criticisms can be, and indeed often are, made about most books on enzyme kinetics that have a primary emphasis on the steady state, but one could have hoped for more.
In the entire book there is just one sentence (in the Preface, on page xvii) that mentions that enzymes are of interest not just to chemists but that they also have physiological roles to fulfil. Not surprisingly, therefore, although there are a few pages that mention the existence of cooperative and allosteric effects, there is no indication of what functions these might have in the living organism, and no discussion of the kinetics of multi-enzyme systems.