Carbonic Anhydrase

Carbonic anhydrase is an important enzyme which enables the human body to convert the metabolic product CO2 to carbonic acid, H2CO3, in the red blood cells for transport to the lungs. The enzyme action of carbonic anhydrase can speed the conversion of CO2 and water to the bicarbonate ion by a factor of a million.

When red blood cells reach the lungs, the same enzyme helps to convert the bicarbonate ions back to carbon dioxide, which we breathe out. In the human form it contains the metal ion Zinc as a key component. The zinc is bonded to three nitrogen atoms in three histidine amino acids in the protein.

"Carbonic anhydrase also aids in the regulation of fluid and pH balance and is involved in producing essential stomach acid. The enzyme also plays a role in vision. When it is defective, fluid can build up and cause glaucoma. The enzyme is one of the fastest known, catalyzing up to one million reactions per second."(Denton)

Carbonic Anhydrase

Biochemical concepts

Chemistry concepts

Carbonic Anhydrase

Denton Miracle of the Cell, Ch 6

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