Aside from the crucial roles of purines (adenine and guanine) in DNA and RNA, purines are also significant components in a number of other important biomolecules, such as ATP, GTP, cyclic AMP, NADH, and coenzyme A. Purine (1) itself, has not been found in nature, but it can be produced by organic synthesis.
The word purine (pure urine) was coined by the GermanchemistEmil Fischer in 1884. He synthesized it for the first time in 1898. The starting material for the reaction sequence was uric acid (8), which had been isolated from kidney stones by Carl Wilhelm Scheele in 1776. Uric acid (8) was reacted with PCl5 to give 2,6,8-trichloropurine (10), which was converted with HI and PH4I to give 2,6-diiodopurine (11). The product was reduced to purine (1) using zinc dust.
Accumulation of modified purine nucleotides is defective to various cellular processes, especially those involving DNA and RNA. To be viable, organisms possess a number of (deoxy)purine phosphohydrolases, which hydrolyze these purine derivatives removing them from the active NTP and dNTP pools. Deamination of purine bases can result in accumulation of such nucleotides as ITP, dITP, XTP and dXTP.
Defects in enzymes that control purine production and breakdown can severely alter a cell’s DNA sequences, which may explain why people who carry certain genetic variants of purine metabolic enzymes have a higher risk for some types of cancer.
Higher levels of meat and seafood consumption are associated with an increased risk of gout, whereas a higher level of consumption of dairy products is associated with a decreased risk. Moderate intake of purine-rich vegetables or protein is not associated with an increased risk of gout.
Oro, Orgel and co-workers have shown that four molecules of HCN tetramerize to form diaminomaleodinitrile (12), which can be converted into almost all naturally-occurring purines.[full citation needed] For example, five molecules of HCN condense in an exothermic reaction to make adenine, especially in the presence of ammonia.
^Fischer, Emil (1884). "Ueber die Harnsäure. I." [On uric acid. I.]. Berichte der Deutschen Chemischen Gesellschaft. 17: 328–338. doi:10.1002/cber.18840170196. From p. 329: "Um eine rationelle Nomenklatur der so entstehenden zahlreichen Substanzen zu ermöglichen, betrachte ich dieselben als Abkömmlinge der noch unbekannten Wasserstoffverbindung CH3.C5N4H3 and nenne die letztere Methylpurin." (In order to make possible a rational nomenclature for the numerous existing substances, I regarded them as derivatives of a still unknown hydrogen compound, CH3.C5N4H3, and call the latter "methylpurine".)
^ abFischer, Emil (1898). "Ueber das Purin und seine Methylderivate" [On purine and its methyl derivatives]. Berichte der Deutschen Chemischen Gesellschaft. 31: 2550–2574. doi:10.1002/cber.18980310304. From p. 2550: "…hielt ich es für zweckmäßig, alle diese Produkte ebenso wie die Harnsäure als Derivate der sauerstofffreien Verbindung C5H4N4 zu betrachten, und wählte für diese den Namen Purin, welcher aus den Wörtern purum und uricum kombiniert war." (…I regarded it as expedient to consider all of these products, just like uric acid, as derivatives of the oxygen-free compound C5H4N4, and chose for them the name "purine", which was formed from the [Latin] words purum and uricum.)
^Scheele, C. W. (1776). "Examen chemicum calculi urinari" [A chemical examination of kidney stones]. Opuscula. 2: 73.
^Davies, O.; Mendes, P.; Smallbone, K.; Malys, N. (2012). "Characterisation of multiple substrate-specific (d)ITP/(d)XTPase and modelling of deaminated purine nucleotide metabolism". BMB Reports. 45 (4): 259–264. doi:10.5483/BMBRep.2012.45.4.259. PMID22531138.
^Saladino, Raffaele; Crestini, Claudia; Ciciriello, Fabiana; Costanzo, Giovanna; Mauro, Ernesto; et al. (2006). "About a Formamide-Based Origin of Informational Polymers: Syntheses of Nucleobases and Favourable Thermodynamic Niches for Early Polymers". Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres. 36 (5–6): 523–531. Bibcode:2006OLEB...36..523S. doi:10.1007/s11084-006-9053-2. PMID17136429.
^Sanchez, R. A.; Ferris, J. P.; Orgel, L. E. (1967). "Studies in prebiotic synthesis. II. Synthesis of purine precursors and amino acids from aqueous hydrogen cyanide". Journal of Molecular Biology. 30 (2): 223–253. doi:10.1016/S0022-2836(67)80037-8. PMID4297187.
^Ferris, James P.; Orgel, L. E. (March 1966). "An Unusual Photochemical Rearrangement in the Synthesis of Adenine from Hydrogen Cyanide". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 88 (5): 1074. doi:10.1021/ja00957a050.