CAs (EC 220.127.116.11) are wide-spread zinc enzymes, present in mammals in at least 14 different isoforms. Some of these isozymes are cytosolic (CA I, CA II, CA III, CA VII), others are membrane-bound (CA IV, CA IX, CA XII and CA XIV), CA V is mitochondrial and CA VI is secreted in the saliva. Three acatalytic forms are also known (CARP VIII, CARP X and CARP XI). Several important physiological and physio-pathological functions are played by many CA isozymes, which are strongly inhibited by aromatic and heterocyclic sulfonamides. The catalytic and inhibition mechanisms of these enzymes are understood in great detail, and this greatly helped the design of potent inhibitors, some of which possess important clinical applications. The use of such enzyme inhibitors as antiglaucoma drugs will be discussed in detail, together with the recent developments that led to isozyme-specific and organ-selective inhibitors. A recent discovery is connected with the involvement of CAs and their sulfonamide inhibitors in cancer several potent sulfonamide inhibitors inhibited the growth of a multitude of tumor cells in vitro and in vivo, constituting thus interesting leads for developing novel antitumor therapies. Furthermore, some other classes of compounds that interact with CAs have recently been discovered, some of which possess modified sulfonamide or hydroxamate moieties. Some sulfonamides have also applications as diagnostic tools, in PET and MRI. Future prospects for drug design applications for inhibitors of these ubiquitous enzymes will also be discussed.
Keywords: Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors, tumorigenicity, crystallographic data, zinc bound water, zinc hydroxide species, nanomolar range, aspartic protease, pharmacological agents, dorzolamide, antiglaucoma, ophthalmologic solutions, proton shuttle