, Volume 91, Issue 2, pp 141-146
Date: 22 Jan 2013

Extracellular adenosine signaling in molecular medicine

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Adenosine—a purinergic signaling molecule

Biochemically, adenosine belongs to a group of molecules referred to as purines. Purines are heterocyclic aromatic molecules that are among the oldest and most influential biochemical compounds in evolutionary history [1]. They are critical building blocks of the genetic code, and therefore the substrate of life, as represented by DNA. These relatively simple molecules are composed from adenine and guanine, and without these molecules, life as we know it would not be possible [2]. In a wide sense, purines are central to the self-sustained and reproducible existence of nucleotide–protein systems, which form cells and tissues that ultimately resulted in an appearance of Homo sapiens [2]. As such, the purine adenosine is well recognized as molecular building block of the genetic code or as part of adenosine triphosphate (ATP)—the universal energy currency of biological reactions [3]. Beyond these function, Alan Drury and Albert Szent-Györgyi from t