About Carbonic Anhydrase:
The role of carbonic anhydrase -- which is found in red blood cells -- is to catalyze a reaction that converts CO2 and water into carbonic acid. This then dissociates into protons and bicarbonate ions. carbonic anhydrase is often described as “near perfection” because it can catalyze at an extraordinary rate: some 106 reactions per second.
Carbonic Anhydrase Functions
the alpha form is found in humans. It’s an enzyme that contains a pocket of amino acids His94, His96, and His119 that hold a zinc ion. when CO2 is introduced into the active site of the enzyme, it gains an OH- that is bonded to the zinc, which then produced the carbonic acid that is subsequently released. Water dissociates so that the OH- can be replenished. Then the OH- binds to the zinc, and the H+ is released. And from there, the reaction can repeat itself.
Once it enters the lungs, carbonic anhydrase reverses the reaction. This means that carbonic acid is turned back into CO2, which can then be exhaled. During this process, the blood pH level is controlled through the amount of bicarbonate ions and protons that are dissolved in the blood.
When the carbonic anhydrase process doesn’t work properly, it can lead to glaucoma, which is one of the leading causes of blindness in humans. This issue is treated with inhibitors of the enzyme. This helps to prevent the optic nerve from becoming pressed by over-secretions of fluid. Other uses of carbonic anhydrase inhibitors include the treatment of ulcers, osteoporosis, and neurological disorders. In terms of ulcers, they occur as a result of carbonic anhydrase not doing one of its jobs properly. It helps to regulate gastric acid within the stomach and keeping a steady, neutral pH level in the saliva.
Carbonic Anhydrase Mechanism
The process of carbonic anhydrase begins with CO2, the waste of which diffuses into the bloodstream. When it’s in a blood cell, CO2, which has gained an OH, is converted to HCO3 by carbonic anhydrase. This results in H2CO3, which then breaks down into a proton and also a bicarbonate ion, which helps to lower the blood pH. It is then transported to the lungs. When it is there, the bicarbonate is converted back into CO2 and H20 through the use of carbonic anhydrase. From there, the CO2 is all ready to be exhaled from the lungs and is released through the mouth.
In conclusion, the enzyme carbonic anhydrase is used to balance the blood pH levels, and also to allow humans to breathe out carbon dioxide, more commonly known as CO2. It catalyzes the reaction to convert CO2 to carbonic acid, which breaks down into bicarbonate ions and protons.