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Carbonic Anhydrase

  • Carbonic Anhydrase is an enzyme which rapidly catalyzes interconversion of carbon dioxide and water into carbonic acid which immediately dissociates into a hydrogen ion and bicarbonate. Carbonic Anhydrase plays a wide variety of key physiological roles in a number of organs thus justifying its classification as a basic concept.
  • Carbonic Anhydrase catalyzes the following reaction:
    • CO2 + H2O ↔ H2CO3
  • H2CO3 is a weak acid and thus spontaneously dissociates as follows:
    • H2CO3 ↔ H+ + HCO3-
  • The total reaction then is as follows:
    • CO2 + H2O ↔ H2CO3 ↔ H+ + HCO3-
  • It should be pointed out that all of these reactions are completely reversible and can be pushed in one direction or the other depending on the relative concentrations of the reactants and products.