Overview of the pathways for the biosynthesis of purine and pyrimidine nucleotides (THF, tetrahydrofolate). Ribonucleoside triphosphates are blue; deoxyribonucleoside triphosphates are green. To emphasise that it is not a building block for deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) synthesis dUTP is red. Both pathways start from a common set of precursor amino acids and other metabolites. Each arrow represents an enzymatic reaction.
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Nucleosides are composed of a heterocyclic ring (defined as the base) that is attached to a ribose. Addition of a phosphate to a nucleoside, at carbon 5 of the ribose, produces a nucleotide. Nucleotides function as ubiquitous building blocks for the synthesis of all nucleic acids, and also function in enzymatic reactions as cofactors and as a source of energy. These central metabolic roles require their continued biosynthesis from readily available precursors, and this process is defined as nucleotide synthesis. The synthesis of purines starts with ribose‐phosphate, to which are attached the individual atoms of the heterocyclic base in a stepwise fashion. Pyrimidine synthesis starts with the stepwise formation of the base, to which is then added the ribose‐phosphate. Bases and nucleosides may also be recycled in salvage pathways.
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