Characterization of purine nucleotide metabolism in primary rat cardiomyocyte cultures

Esther Zoref-Shani, Gania Kessler-Icekson, Lina Wasserman, Oded Sperling*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Primary rat cardiomyocyte cultures were utilized as a model for the study of purine nucleotide metabolism in the heart muscle, especially in connection with the mechanisms operating for the conservation of adenine nucleotides. The cultures exhibited capacity to produce purine nucleotides from nonpurine molecules (de novo synthesis), as well as from preformed purines (salvage synthesis). The conversion of adenosine to AMP, catalyzed by adenosine kinase, appears to be the most important physiological salvage pathway of adenine nucleotide synthesis in the cardiomyocytes. The study of the metabolic fate of IMP formed from [14C]formate or [14C]hypoxanthine and that of AMP formed from [14C]adenine or [14C]adenosine revealed that in the cardiomyocyte the main flow in the nucleotide interconversion pathways is from IMP to AMP, whereas the flux from AMP to IMP appeared to be markedly slower. Following synthesis from labeled precursors by either de novo or salvage pathways, most of the radioactivity in purine nucleotides accumulated in adenine nucleotides, and only a small proportion of it resided in IMP. The results suggest that the main pathway of AMP degradation in the cardiomyocyte proceeds through adenosine rather than through IMP. About 90% of the total radioactivity in purines effluxed from the cells during de novo synthesis from [14C]formate or following prelabeling of adenine nucleotides with [14C]adenine were found to reside in hypoxanthine. The activities in cell extracts of AMP 5′-nucleotidase and IMP 5′-nucleotidase, which catalyze nucleotide degradation, and of AMP deaminase, a key enzyme in the purine nucleotide cycle, were low. The nucleotidase activity resembles, and that of the AMP deaminase contrasts the respective enzyme activities in extracts of cultured skeletal-muscle myotubes. The results indicate that in the cardiomyocyte, in contrast to the myotube, the main mechanism operating for conservation of nucleotides is prompt phosphorylation of AMP, rather than operation of the purine nucleotide cycle. The primary cardiomyocyte cultures are a plausible model for the study of purine nucleotide metabolism in the heart muscle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-168
Number of pages8
JournalBBA - Molecular Cell Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 19 Jun 1984


  • (Rat myocyte)
  • AMP
  • IMP
  • Purine nucleotide metabolism


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