Higher order structures in purine and pyrimidine metabolism

Iva Chitrakar, Deborah M. Kim-Holzapfel, Weijie Zhou, Jarrod B. French

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The recent discovery of several forms of higher order protein structures in cells has shifted the paradigm of how we think about protein organization and metabolic regulation. These dynamic and controllable protein assemblies, which are composed of dozens or hundreds of copies of an enzyme or related enzymes, have emerged as important players in myriad cellular processes. We are only beginning to appreciate the breadth of function of these types of macromolecular assemblies. These higher order structures, which can be assembled in response to varied cellular stimuli including changing metabolite concentrations or signaling cascades, give the cell the capacity to modulate levels of biomolecules both temporally and spatially. This provides an added level of control with distinct kinetics and unique features that can be harnessed as a subtle, yet powerful regulatory mechanism. Due, in large part, to advances in structural methods, such as crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy, and the advent of super-resolution microscopy techniques, a rapidly increasing number of these higher order structures are being identified and characterized. In this review, we detail what is known about the structure, function and control mechanisms of these mesoscale protein assemblies, with a particular focus on those involved in purine and pyrimidine metabolism. These structures have important implications both for our understanding of fundamental cellular processes and as fertile ground for new targets for drug discovery and development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)354-364
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Structural Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • CTP synthetase
  • Macromolecular assembly
  • Mesoscale structures
  • Purine metabolism
  • Purinosome
  • Pyrimidine metabolism


Dive into the research topics of 'Higher order structures in purine and pyrimidine metabolism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this