Purine nucleotides function in a variety of vital cellular and metabolic processes including energy production, cell signaling, synthesis of vitamin-derived cofactors and nucleic acids, and as determinants of cell fate. Unlike their mammalian and insect hosts, Leishmania cannot synthesize the purine ring de novo and are absolutely dependent upon them to meet their purine requirements. The obligatory nature of purine salvage in these parasites, therefore, offers an attractive paradigm for drug targeting and, consequently, the delineation of the pathway has been under scientific investigation for over 30 years. Here, we review recent developments that reveal how purines flux in Leishmania and offer a potential 'Achilles' heel' for future validation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases