Contribution of Model Organisms to Investigating the Far-Reaching Consequences of PRPP Metabolism on Human Health and Well-Being

Cells. 2022 Jun 13;11(12):1909. doi: 10.3390/cells11121909.


Phosphoribosyl pyrophosphate synthetase (PRS EC is a rate-limiting enzyme that irreversibly catalyzes the formation of phosphoribosyl pyrophosphate (PRPP) from ribose-5-phosphate and adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This key metabolite is required for the synthesis of purine and pyrimidine nucleotides, the two aromatic amino acids histidine and tryptophan, the cofactors nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP+), all of which are essential for various life processes. Despite its ubiquity and essential nature across the plant and animal kingdoms, PRPP synthetase displays species-specific characteristics regarding the number of gene copies and architecture permitting interaction with other areas of cellular metabolism. The impact of mutated PRS genes in the model eukaryote Saccharomyces cerevisiae on cell signalling and metabolism may be relevant to the human neuropathies associated with PRPS mutations. Human PRPS1 and PRPS2 gene products are implicated in drug resistance associated with recurrent acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and progression of colorectal cancer and hepatocellular carcinoma. The investigation of PRPP metabolism in accepted model organisms, e.g., yeast and zebrafish, has the potential to reveal novel drug targets for treating at least some of the diseases, often characterized by overlapping symptoms, such as Arts syndrome and respiratory infections, and uncover the significance and relevance of human PRPS in disease diagnosis, management, and treatment.

Keywords: CMTX5; CWI pathway; DFN2/DFNX1; Danio rerio; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; ageing; cancer; cell signalling; eukaryotic model organisms; human neuropathies: Arts syndrome; phosphoribosyl pyrophosphate synthetase (PRS/PRPS).

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / chemistry
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • NAD
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Phosphoribosyl Pyrophosphate* / metabolism
  • Ribose-Phosphate Pyrophosphokinase / genetics
  • Ribose-Phosphate Pyrophosphokinase / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Zebrafish* / metabolism


  • NAD
  • Phosphoribosyl Pyrophosphate
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Ribose-Phosphate Pyrophosphokinase