<cell biology> An enzyme that catalyses the removal of water from a compound; most such enzymes are now known as hydrases, hydro-lyases, or dehydratases.

Carbonic anhydrase, a zinc-containing enzyme that catalyses the interconversion of CO2 with HCO3- and H+. There are at least seven human isozymes that appear predominantly in red blood cells, secretory tissues, muscle, etc. A deficiency of carbonic anhydrase II can result in osteopetrosis and metabolic acidosis. The inhibition of carbonic anhydrase IV and possibly carbonic anhydrase II by sulfonamides is a current therapy in the treatment of glaucoma.

Synonyms: carbonate dehydratase, carbonate hydro-lyase.

(05 Mar 2000)

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