What do conformational changes have to do with protein activity?
Proteins attain functional structures through folding. Functional structure is a structure in which the distant amino acids are brought closer to form active site. This structure is maintained by various bonds like vandervalls forces, hydrogen bonds, disulphide bonds, hydrophobic interactions etc. And such a form of protein is called native conformation. If the protein is treated with some reducing agent like urea the disulphide linkage is broken and folding is lost. When the native conformation is lost closely arranged amino acids move faraway and the protein becomes nonfunctional.
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