Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP) is a critical cofactor during metabolism, calcium signaling, and oxidative defense, yet how animals regulate their NADP pools in vivo and how NADP-synthesizing enzymes are regulated have long remained unknown. Here we show that expression of Nadk, an NAD(+) kinase-encoding gene, governs NADP biosynthesis in vivo and is essential for development in Xenopus frog embryos. Unexpectedly, we found that embryonic Nadk expression is dynamic, showing cell type-specific up-regulation during both frog and sea urchin embryogenesis. We analyzed the NAD kinases (NADKs) of a variety of deuterostome animals, finding two conserved internal domains forming a catalytic core but a highly divergent N terminus. One type of N terminus (found in basal species such as the sea urchin) mediates direct catalytic activation of NADK by Ca(2+)/calmodulin (CaM), whereas the other (typical for vertebrates) is phosphorylated by a CaM kinase-dependent mechanism. This work indicates that animal NADKs govern NADP biosynthesis in vivo and are regulated by evolutionarily divergent and conserved CaM-dependent mechanisms.
Keywords: NAD kinase; NADP; calcium signaling; deuterostome animals; metabolism.