Purine and pyrimidine metabolism in human T lymphocytes. Regulation of deoxyribonucleotide metabolism

A. Cohen, J. Barankiewicz, H. M. Lederman, E. W. Gelfand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


Purine and pyrimidine deoxyribonucleoside metabolism was studied in G1 and S phase human thymocytes and compared with that of the more mature T lymphocytes from peripheral blood. Both thymocyte populations have much higher intracellular deoxyribonucleoside triphosphate (dNTP) pools than peripheral blood T lymphocytes. The smallest dNTP pool in s phase thymocytes is dCTP (5.7 pmol/106 cells) and the largest is dTTP (48 pmol/106 cells), whereas in G1 thymocytes, dATP and dGTP comprise the smallest pools. While both G:1 and S phase thymocytes have active deoxyribonucleoside salvage pathways, only S phase thymocytes have significant ribonucleotide reduction activity. We have studied ribonucleotide reduction and deoxyribonucleoside salvage in S phase thymocytes in the presence of extracellular deoxyribonucleosides. Based on these studies, we propose a model for the interaction of deoxyribonucleoside salvage and ribonucleotide reduction in S phase thymocytes. According to this model, extracellular deoxycytidine at micromolar concentrations is efficiently salvaged by deoxycytidine kinase. However, due to feedback inhibition of deoxycytidine kinase by dCTP, the maximal level of dCTP which can be achieved is limited. The salvage of both deoxyadenosine and deoxyguanosine (up to 10-4 M) is completely inhibited in the presence of micromolar concentrations of deoxycytidine, whereas the salvage of thymidine is unregulated resulting in large increases in dTTP levels. Moreover, significant amounts of the salvaged deoxycytidine is used for dTTP synthesis resulting in further increase of dTTP pools. The accumulated dTTP inhibits the reduction of UDP and CDP while stimulating GDP reduction and subsequently also ADP reduction. The end result of the proposed model is that S phase thymocytes in the presence of a wide range of extracellular deoxyribonucleoside concentrations synthesize their pyrimidine dNTP by the salvage pathway, whereas purine dNTPs are synthesized primarily by ribonucleotide reduction. Using the proposed model, it is possible to predict the relative intracellular dNTP pools found in fresh s phase thymocytes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12334-12340
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number20
StatePublished - 1983
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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