Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry

, Volume 140, Issue 1, pp 1–22

Physiological concentrations of purines and pyrimidines

  • Thomas W. Traut


The concentrations of bases, nucleosides, and nucleosides mono-, di- and tri-phosphate are compared for about 600 published values. The data are predominantly from mammalian cells and fluids. For the most important ribonucleotides average concentrations ±SD (μM) are: ATP, 3,152±1,698; GTP, 468±224; UTP, 567±460 and CTP, 278±242. For deoxynucleosidestriphosphate (dNTP), the concentrations in dividing cells are: dATP, 24±22; dGTP, 5.2±4.5; dCTP, 29±19 and dTTP 37±30. By comparison, dUTP is usually about 0.2 μM. For, the 4 dNTPs, tumor cells have concentrations of 6–11 fold over normal cells, and for the 4 NTPs, tumor cells also have concentrations 1.2–5 fold over the normal cells. By comparison, the concentrations of NTPs are significantly lower in various types of blood cells. The average concentration of bases and nucleosides in plasma and other extracellular fluids is generally in the range of 0.4–6 μM; these values are usually lower than corresponding intracellular concentrations. For phosphate compounds, average cellular concentrations are: Pi, 4400; ribose-1-P, 55; ribose-5-P, 70 and P-ribose-PP, 9.0. The metal ion magnesium, important for coordinating phosphates in nucleotides, has values (mM) of: free Mg2+, 1.1; complexed-Mg, 8.0. Consideration of experiments on the intracellular compartmentation of nucleotides shows support for this process between the cytoplasm and mitochondria, but not between the cytoplasm and the nucleus.

Key words

purines pyrimidines nucleosides nucleotides 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas W. Traut
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and BiophysicsUniversity of North Carolina School of MedicineChapel HillUSA

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