The maintenance of phosphate homeostasis serves as a foundation for energy metabolism and signal transduction processes in all living organisms. Inositol pyrophosphates (PP-InsPs), composed of an inositol ring decorated with monophosphate and diphosphate moieties, and inorganic polyphosphate (polyP), chains of orthophosphate residues linked by phosphoanhydride bonds, are energy-rich biomolecules that play critical roles in phosphate homeostasis. There is a complex interplay between these two phosphate-rich molecules, and they share an interdependent relationship with cellular adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and inorganic phosphate (Pi). In eukaryotes, the enzymes involved in PP-InsP synthesis show some degree of conservation across species, whereas distinct enzymology exists for polyP synthesis among different organisms. In fact, the mechanism of polyP synthesis in metazoans, including mammals, is still unclear. Early studies on PP-InsP and polyP synthesis were conducted in the slime mould Dictyostelium discoideum, but it is in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae that a clear understanding of the interplay between polyP, PP-InsPs, and Pi homeostasis has now been established. Recent research has shed more light on the influence of PP-InsPs on polyP in mammals, and the regulation of both these molecules by cellular ATP and Pi levels. In this review we will discuss the cross-talk between PP-InsPs, polyP, ATP, and Pi in the context of budding yeast, slime mould, and mammals. We will also highlight the similarities and differences in the relationship between these phosphate-rich biomolecules among this group of organisms.

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