Nucleosides are intermediates of nucleotide metabolism. Nucleotide de novo synthesis generates the nucleoside monophosphates AMP and UMP, which are further processed to all purine and pyrimidine nucleotides involved in multiple cellular reactions, including the synthesis of nucleic acids. Catabolism of these substances results in the formation of nucleosides, which are further degraded by nucleoside hydrolase to nucleobases. Both nucleosides and nucleobases can be exchanged between cells and tissues through multiple isoforms of corresponding transport proteins. After uptake into a cell, nucleosides and nucleobases can undergo salvage reactions or catabolism. Whereas energy is preserved by salvage pathway reactions, catabolism liberates ammonia, which is then incorporated into amino acids. Keeping the balance between nitrogen consumption during nucleotide de novo synthesis and ammonia liberation by nucleotide catabolism is essential for correct plant development. Senescence and seed germination represent situations in plant development where marked fluctuations in nucleotide pools occur. Furthermore, extracellular nucleotide metabolism has become an immensely interesting research topic. In addition, selected aspects of nucleoside transport in yeast, protists and humans are discussed.