Hypoxanthine can be used as a marker for energy perturbation in hypoxia/ischemia and is structurally related to 6-mercaptopurine. The compound has been used in studies as in indicator, along with uric acid (sc-213135) and allantoin (sc-207271), of in vivo free radical reactions. To understand its biological implications, hypoxanthine has been used in DNA studies to investigate the destabilizing effect it has on DNA duplexes containing hypoxanthine as a base, in a gas phase versus a liquid phase. Hypoxanthine has also been used in studies along with 8-oxoguanine nucleotides to investigate their interaction with human DNA pol α (DNA polymerase alpha) and DNA polymerase I from Bacillus stearothermophilus.
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