A New View into the Regulation of Purine Metabolism: The Purinosome

Trends Biochem Sci. 2017 Feb;42(2):141-154. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2016.09.009. Epub 2016 Oct 28.


Other than serving as building blocks for DNA and RNA, purine metabolites provide a cell with the necessary energy and cofactors to promote cell survival and proliferation. A renewed interest in how purine metabolism may fuel cancer progression has uncovered a new perspective into how a cell regulates purine need. Under cellular conditions of high purine demand, the de novo purine biosynthetic enzymes cluster near mitochondria and microtubules to form dynamic multienzyme complexes referred to as 'purinosomes'. In this review, we highlight the purinosome as a novel level of metabolic organization of enzymes in cells, its consequences for regulation of purine metabolism, and the extent that purine metabolism is being targeted for the treatment of cancers.

Keywords: metabolon; purine metabolism; purinosome.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Purines / metabolism*


  • Purines