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J Biol Chem. 1992 Feb 25;267(6):3731-4.

Carbonic anhydrase in Escherichia coli. A product of the cyn operon.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, University of Minnesota, Duluth, Minnesota 55812.


The product of the cynT gene of the cyn operon in Escherichia coli has been identified as a carbonic anhydrase. The cyn operon also includes the gene cynS, encoding the enzyme cyanase. Cyanase catalyzes the reaction of cyanate with bicarbonate to give ammonia and carbon dioxide. The carbonic anhydrase was isolated from an Escherichia coli strain overexpressing the cynT gene and characterized. The purified enzyme was shown to contain 1 Zn2+/subunit (24 kDa) and was found to behave as an oligomer in solution; the presence of bicarbonate resulted in partial dissociation of the oligomeric enzyme. The kinetic properties of the enzyme are similar to those of carbonic anhydrases from other species, including inhibition by sulfonamides and cyanate. The amino acid sequence shows a high degree of identity with the sequences of two plant carbonic anhydrases. but not with animal and algal carbonic anhydrases. Since carbon dioxide formed in the bicarbonate-dependent decomposition of cyanate diffuses out of the cell faster than it would be hydrated to bicarbonate, the apparent function of the induced carbonic anhydrase is to catalyze hydration of carbon dioxide and thus prevent depletion of cellular bicarbonate.

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