1. It has been reported that the rate of purine nucleotide synthesis de novo in the immature rat uterus is doubled at 6h after administration of oestradiol-17β. The present work confirms an increased incorporation of glycine and adenine into uterine nucleotides between 2 and 6h after hormone treatment and investigates the mechanism of this response. 2. Activation of regulatory enzymes is unlikely to promote increased nucleotide synthesis: the activities of 5-phosphoribosyl 1-pyrophosphate amidotransferase (EC 2.4.2.14) and adenine phosphoribosyltransferase (EC 2.4.2.7) are the same in uterine extracts from control and oestrogen-treated rats. 3. Therefore it was proposed that oestradiol might promote an increased supply of a rate-limiting substrate. The low oestrogen-sensitive rate of AMP synthesis from adenine and endogenous 5-phosphoribosyl 1-pyrophosphate in the intact uterus compared with the high, oestrogen-insensitive rate in uterine extracts supplemented with 5-phosphoribosyl 1-pyrophosphate is evidence that the supply of 5-phosphoribosyl 1-pyrophosphate limits purine nucleotide formation and may increase after hormone treatment. This proposal is supported by the decrease in AMP synthesis in the whole tissue in the presence of guanine and 7-amino-3-(β-d-ribofuranosyl)pyrazolo[3,4-d]pyrimidine (formycin). These compounds do not inhibit adenine uptake or adenine phosphoribosyltransferase activity, but they both decrease the availability of 5-phosphoribosyl 1-pyrophosphate, the former by promoting its utilization by hypoxanthine/guanine phosphoribosyltransferase (EC 2.4.2.8) and the latter by inhibiting its synthesis from ribose 5-phosphate and ATP by ribose 5-phosphate pyrophosphokinase (EC 2.7.6.1). 4. It is unlikely that the increased availability of 5-phosphoribosyl 1-pyrophosphate results from hormonal stimulation of ribose 5-phosphate formation. Methylene Blue and phenazine methosulphate both increase ribose 5-phosphate without altering the supply of 5-phosphoribosyl 1-pyrophosphate. 5. The activity of ribose 5-phosphate pyrophosphokinase is low in uterine extracts and increases rapidly in response to oestradiol. Therefore the hormonal activation of the routes of purine nucleotide synthesis both de novo and from preformed precursors may be due, at least in part, to an increased availability of the common rate-limiting substrate 5-phosphoribosyl 1-pyrophosphate, mediated by activation of ribose 5-phosphate pyrophosphokinase.

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