Most metabolic reactions are connected through either their utilization of nucleotides or their utilization of nucleotides or their regulation by these metabolites. In this review the biosynthetic pathways for pyrimidine and purine metabolism in lactic acid bacteria are described including the interconversion pathways, the formation of deoxyribonucleotides and the salvage pathways for use of exogenous precursors. The data for the enzymatic and the genetic regulation of these pathways are reviewed, as well as the gene organizations in different lactic acid bacteria. Mutant phenotypes and methods for manipulation of nucleotide pools are also discussed. Our aim is to provide an overview of the physiology and genetics of nucleotide metabolism and its regulation that will facilitate the interpretation of data arising from genetics, metabolomics, proteomics, and transcriptomics in lactic acid bacteria.