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Carbonic anhydrases (CAs) catalyze the reversible hydration of carbon dioxide to bicarbonate and are abundantly distributed in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. There are five classes (α,β,γ,δ,ζ) with no significant sequence or structural identity among them, a remarkable example of convergent evolution. The β and γ classes predominate in anaerobic microbes, living without O2, that comprise a substantial portion of the living protoplasm on Earth. Anaerobes reside in the lower intestinal tract of humans, one of many O2-free environments on Earth, where they convert complex biomass to methane and CO2 contributing an essential link in the global carbon cycle. Carbon dioxide is a universal metabolite of anaerobes necessitating CA for a diversity of proposed functions. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


James G Ferry. Carbonic anhydrases of anaerobic microbes. Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry. 2013 Mar 15;21(6):1392-5

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PMID: 23267670

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