The ubiquitously expressed nucleoside diphosphate kinases (Nm23/NDPK/Awd) are a large family of multifunctional enzymes implicated in nucleic acid metabolism and in normal and abnormal development. Here, we describe the generation and characterization of NDPK A- and B-deficient (Nme1(-/-)/Nme2(-/-)) mice in which >95% of the enzyme activity is eliminated. These mice are undersized, die perinatally, and exhibit a spectrum of hematological phenotypes including severe anemia, impaired maturation of erythrocytes, and abnormal hematopoiesis in the liver and bone marrow. Flow cytometric analysis of developing Nme1(-/-)/Nme2(-/-) erythroid cells indicated that the major iron transport receptor molecule TfR1 is attenuated concomitant with a reduction of intracellular iron, suggesting that TfR1 is a downstream target of NDPKs and that reduced iron in Nme1(-/-)/Nme2(-/-) erythroblasts is inhibiting their development. We conclude that Nm23/NDPKs play critical roles in definitive erythroid development. Our novel mouse model also links erythropoiesis and nucleotide metabolism.
(c) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.