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Bemi V. Tazzni N. Banditelli S. Giorgelli F. Pesi R. Turchi G. Mattana A. Sgarrella F. Tozzi MG. Camici M.
We have assessed the intracellular metabolism of 2'-deoxyadenosine in a human colon-carcinoma cell line (LoVo), both in the absence and in the presence of deoxycoformycin, the powerful inhibitor of adenosine deaminase. The combination of 2'-deoxyadenosine and deoxycoformycin has been reported to inhibit the growth of LoVo cells in culture. In this paper we demonstrate that the observed toxic effect is strictly dependent on cell density. In the absence of deoxycoformycin, 2'-deoxyadenosine is primarily deaminated to 2'-deoxyinosine and then converted into hypoxanthine. In the presence of the inhibitor, the deoxynucleoside, in addition to a phosphorylation process, undergoes phosphorolytic cleavage giving rise to adenine. The conversion of 2'-deoxyadenosine to adenine might represent a protective device, emerging when the activity of adenosine deaminase is reduced or inhibited. There is much evidence to indicate that the enzyme catalyzing this process may be distinct from methylthioadenosine phosphorylase and S-adenosyl homocysteine hydrolase, which are the enzymes reported to be responsible for the formation of adenine from 2'-deoxyadenosine in mammals.