Adenosine as a metabolic regulator of tissue function: production of adenosine by cytoplasmic 5'-nucleotidases
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Adenosine is a product of complete dephosphorylation of adenine nucleotides which takes place in various compartments of the cell. This nucleoside is a significant signal molecule engaged in regulation of physiology and modulation of the function of numerous cell types (i.e. neurons, platelets, neutrophils, mast cells and smooth muscle cells in bronchi and vasculature, myocytes etc.). As part a of purinergic signaling system, adenosine mediates neurotransmission, conduction, secretion, vasodilation, proliferation and cell death. Most of the effects of adenosine help to protect cells and tissues during stress conditions such as ischemia or anoxia. Adenosine receptors and nucleoside transporters are targets for potential drugs in many pathophysiological situations. The adenosine-producing system in vertebrates involves a cascade dephosphorylating ATP and ending with 5'-nucleotidase (EC 126.96.36.199) localized either on the membrane or inside the cell. In this paper the cytoplasmic variants of 5'-nucleotidase are broadly characterized as well as their clinical relevance. The role of AMP-selective 5'-nucleotidase (cN-I) in the heart, skeletal muscle and brain is highlighted. cN-I action is crucial during ischemia and important for the efficacy of some nucleoside-based drugs and in the regulation of the substrate pool for nucleic acids synthesis. Inhibitors used in studying the roles of cytoplasmic and membrane-bound 5'-nucleotidases are also described.
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