Expression of carbonic anhydrase I in motor neurons and alterations in ALS

Xiaochen Liu, Deyi Lu, Robert Bowser, Jian Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Carbonic anhydrase I (CA1) is the cytosolic isoform of mammalian α-CA family members which are responsible for maintaining pH homeostasis in the physiology and pathology of organisms. A subset of CA isoforms are known to be expressed and function in the central nervous system (CNS). CA1 has not been extensively characterized in the CNS. In this study, we demonstrate that CA1 is expressed in the motor neurons in human spinal cord. Unexpectedly, a subpopulation of CA1 appears to be associated with endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membranes. In addition, the membrane-associated CA1s are preferentially upregulated in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and exhibit altered distribution in motor neurons. Furthermore, long-term expression of CA1 in mammalian cells activates apoptosis. Our results suggest a previously unknown role for CA1 function in the CNS and its potential involvement in motor neuron degeneration in ALS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1820
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016


  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Apoptosis
  • Carbonic anhydrase 1 (CA1)
  • Endoplasmic reticulum (ER)
  • Motor neuron


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