Purine nucleotides are involved in a multitude of cellular processes, and the dysfunction of purine metabolism has drastic physiological and pathological consequences. Accordingly, several genetic disorders associated with defective purine metabolism have been reported. The etiology of these diseases is poorly understood and simple model organisms, such as yeast, have proved valuable to provide a more comprehensive view of the metabolic consequences caused by the identified mutations. In this review, we present results obtained with the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae
to exemplify how a eukaryotic unicellular organism can offer highly relevant information for identifying the molecular basis of complex human diseases. Overall, purine metabolism illustrates a remarkable conservation of genes, functions and phenotypes between humans and yeast.
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