Hypoxanthine is a naturally occurring purine derivative. It is occasionally found as a constituent of nucleic acids, where it is present in the anticodon of tRNA in the form of its nucleoside inosine. It has a tautomer known as 6-hydroxypurine. Hypoxanthine is a necessary additive in certain cell, bacteria, and parasite cultures as a substrate and nitrogen source. For example, it is commonly a required reagent in malaria parasite cultures, since Plasmodium falciparum requires a source of hypoxanthine for nucleic acid synthesis and energy metabolism.
3D model (JSmol)
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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In August 2011, a report, based on NASA studies with meteorites found on Earth, was published suggesting hypoxanthine and related organic molecules, including the DNA and RNA components adenine and guanine, may have been formed extraterrestrially in outer space.
Hypoxanthine is also a spontaneous deamination product of adenine. Because of its resemblance to guanine, the spontaneous deamination of adenine can lead to an error in DNA transcription/replication, as it binds with cytosine.
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