adenine (ădˈənĭn, –nĪn, –nēn) [key], organic base of the purine family. Adenine combines with the sugar ribose to form adenosine, which in turn can be bonded with from one to three phosphoric acid units, yielding the three nucleotides adenosine monophosphate, adenosine diphosphate, and adenosine triphosphate. These adenine derivatives perform important functions in cellular metabolism. Adenine is one of four nitrogenous bases utilized in the synthesis of nucleic acids. A modified form of adenosine monophosphate is thought to be a secondary messenger in the propagation of many hormonal stimuli. Adenine is an integral part of the structure of many coenzymes.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.