Living reference work entry
Xanthine is one of the purine bases, which is widely distributed in the terrestrial biological system, though it is not included among the canonical five nucleic acid bases. Figure 1 shows a molecular structure of xanthine. Its molecular weight is 152.11. Its nucleoside is xanthosine. It is formed by hydrolysis of guanine or is enzymatically converted from guanine by guanine deaminase. It has been reported that some purine bases and pyrimidine bases including canonical nucleic acid bases existed in extracts from carbonaceous chondrites, but the detected bases have not been the same. Among various purines and pyrimidines, only xanthine was reported to be detected as a major base in Murchison meteorite both by GC/C/MS (Martins et al. 2008) and LC/MS (Callahan et al. 2011).
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