, 14:42 | Cite as

Metabolic interaction between purine nucleotide cycle and oxypurine cycle during skeletal muscle contraction of different intensities: a biochemical reappraisal

  • Piero L. Ipata
  • Rossana Pesi
Review Article



A substrate cycle is a metabolic transformation in which a substrate A is phosphorylated to A−P at the expense of ATP (or another “high energy” compound), and A−P is converted back to A by a nucleotidase or a phosphatase. Many biochemists resisted the idea of such an ATP waste. Why a non-phosphorylated metabolite should be converted into a phosphorylated form, and converted back to its non-phosphorylated form through a “futile cycle”?

Aim of review

In this Review we aim at presenting our present knowledge on the biochemical features underlying the interrelation between the muscle purine nucleotide cycle and the oxypurine cycle, and on the metabolic responses of the two cycles to increasing intensities of muscle contraction.

Key scientific concepts of review

Nowadays it is widely accepted that the substrate cycles regulate many vital functions depending on the expense of large amounts of ATP, including skeletal muscle contraction, so that the expense of some extra ATP and “high energy” compounds, such as GTP and PRPP via substrate cycles, is not surprising. The Review emphasizes the strict metabolic interrelationship between the purine nucleotide cycle and the oxipurine cycle.


Theoretical basis of substrate cycles The purine nucleotide cycle The oxypurine cycle The interaction between the purine nucleotide cycle and the oxypurine cycle The overall equation of the aerobic glycogen catabolism 





IMP-GMP 5′-nucleotidase






Hypoxanthine-guanine phsphoribosyltransferase








Purine nucleotide cycle


Purine nucleoside phosphorylase








Glycolysis starting from glycogen



This work was supported by local funds of the University of Pisa. Authors are grateful to Prof. Umberto Mura for precious advice.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology, Unit of BiochemistryUniversity of PisaPisaItaly

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