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an allosteric effect is when something happens in one part of a molecule (such as binding of another molecule or phosphorylation) and that causes a change somewhere else in the molecule. So, for example, some enzyme inhibitors bind someplace distant from the active site and still inactivate the enzyme. Allosteric effects are frequently caused by conformational changes (shape-shifts) in proteins – basically some change happens (such as an inhibitor binding) and then the protein shifts to more comfortably accommodate that change, which can have ripple-like effects since all the protein letters (amino acids) are connected.