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Background: CA11 belongs a large family of zinc metalloenzymes that catalyze the reversible hydration of carbon dioxide. CA11 is likely a secreted protein, however, radical changes at active site residues completely conserved in CA isozymes with catalytic activity, make it unlikely that it has carbonic anhydrase activity. This protein shares properties in common with two other acatalytic CA isoforms, CA VIII and CA X. The protein is most abundantly expressed in brain, and may play a general role in the central nervous system.