Cellular and Molecular Biology


Enzymes involved in purine metabolism - A review of histochemical localization and functional implications

Y. Moriwaki, T. Yamamoto and K. Higashino

Third Department of Internal Medicine, Hyogo College of Medicine, Nishinomiya, Hyogo, Japan

Offprint requests to: Yuji Moriwaki, M.D., Third Department of Internal Medicine, Hyogo College of Medicine, Mukogawa-cho 1-1, Nishinomiya, Hyogo 663-8501, Japan. Fax: 81-798-45-6474. e-mail: tetsuya@hyo-med.ac.jp


Summary. Many enzymes are involved in the biosynthesis, interconversion, and degradation of purine compounds. The exact function of these enzymes is still unknown, but they seem to play important roles other than in purine metabolism. To elucidate their functional roles, it is imperative to clarify their tissue distribution at the cellular or subcellular level. The present review summarizes the currently available information about their histochemical localization and proposed functions.
In general, 5'-nucleotidase has been considered as a marker enzyme for the plasma membrane, and is considered to be a key enzyme in the generation of adenosine, a potential vasodilator. However, from its wide range of localization in tissues it is also considered to be related to the membrane movement of cells in the transitional epithelium, cellular motile response, transport process, cellular growth, synthesis of fibrous protein and calcification, lymphocyte activation, neurotransmission, and oxygen sensing mechanism. Adenosine deaminase (ADA) is present in all tissues in mammals. Although the main function of ADA is the development of the immune system in humans, it seems to be associated with the differentiation of epithelial cells and monocytes, neurotransmission, and mainte-nance of gestation. Purine nucleoside phosphorylase (PNP) is generally considered as a cytosolic enzyme, but recently, mitochondrial PNP, a different protein from cytosolic PNP, was reported. PNP is also widely expressed in human tissues. It is found in most tissues of the body, but the highest activity is in peripheral blood granulocyte and lymphoid tissues. It is also related to the development of T-cell immunity in humans as is ADA. Moreover, its contribution to centriole replication and/or regulation of microtubule assembly has been suggested. Immunohistochemical localization of xanthine oxidase has been reported in various tissues from various animal species. Xanthine oxidase has been suggested to be involved in the pathogenesis of post-ischemic reperfusion tissue injury through the generation of reactive oxygen species, while the extensive tissue localization of xanthine dehydrogenase/oxidase suggests several other roles for this enzyme, including a protective barrier against bacterial infection by producing either superoxide radicals or uric acid. Furthermore, an involvement in cellular proliferation and differentiation has been suggested. Urate oxidase is generally considered a liver-specific enzyme, except for bovines which possess this enzyme in the kidney. Urate oxidase is exclusively located in the peroxisomes of fish, frogs, and rats, but was lost in birds, some reptiles, and primates during evolution. A histochemical demon-stration of allantoin-degrading enzymes has not been performed, but these enzymes have been located in peroxisomes by sucrose density gradient centrifugation. AMP deaminase activity is higher in skeletal muscle than in any other tissues. AMP deaminase may be involved in a number of physiological processes, such as the conversion of adenine nucleotide to inosine or guanine nucleotide, stabilizing the adenylate energy charge, and the reaction of the purine nucleotide cycle. There are three distinct isozymes (A, B, C) with different kinetic, physical, and immunological properties. Isozymes A, B, C have been isolated from muscle, liver (kidney), and heart tissue, respectively. In the muscle, AMP deaminase isozymes exist in a different part, suggesting a multiple functional role of this enzyme. High hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyltransferase (HGPRT) activity is found in some regions of a normal adult human brain. However, very little is known regarding the histochemical tissue localization of HGPRT. Immunohistochemical localization of its developmental expression suggests that HGPRT may not be essential for purine nucleotide supplement in the segmentation of brain cells, but may play a significant role in the developing hippocampus. Histol. Histopathol. 14, 1321-1340 (1999)

Key words: Purine metabolism-related enzymes, Tissue distribution, Histochemistry, Function

DOI: 10.14670/HH-14.1321