Carbonic Anhydrase Enzyme



Carbonic Anhydrase Enzyme

Carbonic Anhydrase Enzyme plays an important role in body? If there’s one fundamental function in life, it’s breathing, and its more than just taking in air and exhaling it all out. The air that we take into our lungs contains oxygen, a gas that aids in the breakdown of fats and sugars in the many cells in the body. When fat and sugar are broken down in the cells, carbon dioxide is excreted as waste, a gas we release into the air when we exhale. Carbon dioxide is excreted from cells and transported to the blood in three ways: one is by dissolving into the blood plasma, another is by binding into hemoglobin, and the third is by being converted into carbonic acid to be transported into the lungs.

A particular enzyme located in red blood cells called carbonic anhydrase enzyme helps in the conversion of carbon dioxide to bicarbonate ions and carbonic acid. Once the red blood cells reach the lungs, carbonic anhydrase enzyme also helps in converting bicarbonate ions back to carbon dioxide once again, which we then breathe out. It is worthwhile to note that carbonic anhydrase enzyme is not needed in these reactions, but the enzyme can increase or even skyrocket the conversion rates up to a million fold.

Carbonic Anhydrase Enzyme

The Function of Carbonic Anhydrase in Plants and Corals

Just like us, plants use oxygen in order to produce energy and release carbon dioxide as waste. Green plants convert carbon dioxide and water into sugar using photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide is kept in plants in the form of bicarbonate ions. In water plants and land plants, carbonic anhydrase enzyme plays a big role in converting bicarbonate ions to carbon dioxide for the process of photosynthesis. In corals, carbonic anhydrase enzyme is used in calcification.

Calcium in seawater goes into a chemical reaction with the bicarbonates produced by carbonic anhydrase enzyme, which in effect, creates calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate is what makes up the tough exterior of corals.

The History of Carbonic Anhydrase Enzyme


Carbonic anhydrase aids in the conversion of water and carbon dioxide into protons, carbonic acid, and bicarbonate ions. Carbonic anhydrase was first discovered in 1933, using red blood cells found in cows. Ever since the date of its discovery, the enzyme has been found to be of abundance in all plants, bacteria, algae, and mammalian tissues.

There are three classes of carbonic anhydrase enzyme: gamma, beta, and alpha. The three of these classes share small similarities in terms of structure or sequence, but the three of them perform the same function and require zinc ion in the active site in order to work. The three classes of carbonic anhydrase belong to three different species.

Alpha carbonic anhydrase belongs to mammals; beta carbonic anhydrase belongs to plants, while the gamma class belongs to particular groups of bacteria.

Carbonic anhydrase plays a huge role in the health of the human body. One of the main roles of carbonic anhydrase enzyme is the production of bicarbonate ions and protons, making it essential for the pH regulation and the balance of fluids in the body.

Now you know the importance of carbonic anhydrase enzyme

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