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Research in the field of purinergic signal transfer naturally includes pyrimidergic mechanisms. The terminology has historical reasons since initially only purine compounds could be identified as extracellular signal molecules.

Activities to coordinate research in the field of purinergic signal transfer were initiated at the beginning of the nineteen nineties. A proposal for an Integrated Research Programme of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) coordinated by Prof. Dr. Herbert Zimmermann in 1995 (Nucleotides - a novel and universal class of extracellular signal substances) failed; there was no lobby for this new topic in the German scientific community. This was, however, the starting point for a continued and intensified interaction of German scientists active in this field. On the occasion of the International Purine meeting in Madrid in 2000, the German Purine Club was officially founded with Prof. Dr. Peter Illes, Leipzig, as president and Prof. Dr. Herbert Zimmermann, Frankfurt, as vice president. The German-Italian (Italian-German) Purine Club meetings initiated by our Italian colleagues (2005, Chieti; 2007, Leipzig; 2009, Camerino) were important catalysts for further strengthening the interactions, in particular also with our Italian colleagues. In 2007 a Dislocated Research Unit of the DFG entitled “Neuronal and glial P2 receptors; molecular basis and functional significance” was launched with Prof. Dr. Peter Illes as the coordinator.

Purine Clubs have now been established in several countries. Apart from the German Purine Club these include - as the oldest Purine Club – the Italian Purine Club, the Japanese Purine Club, and more recently the UK Purine Club, the Brazilian Purine Club and the North American Purine Club. In addition the supra-national Renal Purine Club was founded that focuses particularly on the purinergic mechanisms involved in the physiology and pathology of renal function.

At present, no international umbrella organization exists addressing this scientific topic but it is planned to establish a European, and perhaps later on also an International Purine Committee that would help to coordinate the national Purine Clubs and would be concerned in particular with the planning of the international Purine Meetings.

Prof. Dr. Kenneth A. Jacobson (National Institutes of Health, Bethesda) has established a platform at LinkedIn where the members of the various Purine Clubs are informed about recent developments and where they can exchange opinions. Access is by recommendation of Prof. Dr. Christa Müller, Bonn.

In 2004, Prof. Dr. Geoffrey Burnstock, previously London, now Melbourne, founded the Journal "Purinergic Signalling". Prof. Dr. Peter Illes, Prof. Dr. Herbert Zimmermann and Prof. Dr. Christa Müller act as associate editors.


For further information see:

  • Pedata F (2017) From the 7th Joint Italian-German Purine Club Meeting to European Purine Club Meetings. Purinergic Signal 13:683-685. doi:10.1007/s11302-017-9580-5
  • Schöneberg T, Illes P, Burnstock G (2010) The German Research Unit „Neuronal and glial P2 receptors, molecular basis and functional significance. Purinergic Signal 6:285-287. doi:10.1007/s11302-009-0176-9.
  • Burnstock G (2010) The history of national purine clubs and the international purine club. Purinergic Signal 6:283-284. doi:10.1007/s11302-009-9177-8.

For a list of the previously held meetings, meetings-related publications, and updates on the upcoming events, check this link

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