Definition of purine in English:



mass nounChemistry
  • 1A colourless crystalline compound with basic properties, forming uric acid on oxidation.

    A bicyclic compound; chemical formula: C₅H₄N₄

    • ‘All these foods contain high levels of purine, which the body metabolises into uric acid - hence gout.’
    • ‘Conversely, the reaction of purine and pyrimidine nucleobases with alkylating and oxidizing agents generally results in site-specific cleavage.’
    • ‘Scientists have long known that gout develops when joints become fouled with crystals of uric acid, which is a natural digestion product of purine.’
    • ‘The major enzymological studies underway in the field of biochemistry prior to 1950 unfortunately were focused on carbon metabolism, not on amino acid, vitamin, purine, or pyrimidine biosynthesis.’
    • ‘Uric acid is a byproduct of the metabolism of purine, a protein found particularly in red meat and offal, game, seafood and alcoholic drinks (particularly beer, lager, port and red wine).’
    1. 1.1count noun A substituted derivative of purine, especially the bases adenine and guanine present in DNA.
      • ‘This view was reinforced by the elucidation of Z DNA and Z RNA structures, where the syn purines are mostly guanines.’
      • ‘In comparison with the deamination of cytosine to uracil, the deamination of DNA purines is a minor reaction.’
      • ‘Indeed, all the genes encoding enzymes required for de novo AMP biosynthesis are repressed at the transcriptional level by the presence of extracellular purines (adenine or hypoxanthine).’
      • ‘Two other ways of recoding the data were cited: eliminating third codon positions and recoding nucleotides as purines and pyrimidines.’
      • ‘The purines adenine and guanine are constituents of DNA.’


Late 19th century: from German Purin, from Latin purus ‘pure’ + uricum ‘uric acid’ + -ine.