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Cytidine triphosphate synthase (CTPS) and inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase (IMPDH) (both of which have two isoforms) can form fiber-like subcellular structures termed 'cytoophidia' under certain circumstances in mammalian cells. Although it has been shown that filamentation of CTPS downregulates its activity by disturbing conformational changes, the activity of IMPDH within cytoophidia is still unclear. Most previous IMPDH cytoophidium studies were performed under conditions involving inhibitors that impair GTP synthesis. Here, we show that IMPDH forms cytoophidia without inhibition of GTP synthesis. First, we find that an elevated intracellular CTP concentration or treatment with 3'-deazauridine, a CTPS inhibitor, promotes IMPDH cytoophidium formation and increases the intracellular GTP pool size. Moreover, restriction of cell growth triggers the disassembly of IMPDH cytoophidia, implying that their presence is correlated with active cell metabolism. Finally, we show that the presence of IMPDH cytoophidia in mouse pancreatic islet cells might correlate with nutrient uptake in the animal. Collectively, our findings reveal that formation of IMPDH cytoophidia reflects upregulation of purine nucleotide synthesis, suggesting that the IMPDH cytoophidium plays a role distinct from that of the CTPS cytoophidium in controlling intracellular nucleotide homeostasis.

Original publication




Journal article


J Cell Sci

Publication Date





3550 - 3555


CTPS, Cytoophidium, IMPDH, Nucleotide, Animals, Carbon-Nitrogen Ligases, Cell Line, Tumor, Cytoplasm, Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Humans, IMP Dehydrogenase, Mice, Nucleotides, Up-Regulation