Cell extracts from human leukemic T lymphoblasts and myeloblasts were chromatographed on DEAE-cellulose columns to separate purine deoxyribonucleoside, deoxyadenosine (dAdo) and deoxyguanosine (dGuo), phosphorylating activities. Three distinct purine deoxyribonucleoside kinases, a deoxycytidine (dCyd) kinase, an adenosine (Ado) kinase, and a deoxyguanosine (dGuo) kinase (the latter appears to be localized in mitochondria), were resolved. dCyd kinase contained the major phosphorylating activity for dAdo, dGuo, and 9-beta-D-arabinofuranosyladenine (ara-A). Ado kinase represented a second kinase for dAdo and ara-A while a third kinase for dAdo was found in mitochondria. dCyd kinase was purified about 2000-fold with ion-exchange, affinity, and hydrophobic chromatographies. On gel electrophoresis, both dCyd and dAdo phosphorylating activities comigrated, indicating that the activities are associated with the same protein. The enzyme showed a broad pH optimum ranging from pH 6.5 to pH 9.5. Divalent cations Mg2+, Mn2+, and Ca2+ stimulated dCyd kinase activity; Mg2+ produced the maximal activity. dCyd kinase from either lymphoid or myeloid cells showed broad substrate specificity. The enzyme used several nucleoside triphosphates, but ATP, GTP, and dTTP were the best phosphate donors. dCyd was the best nucleoside substrate, since dCyd kinase had an apparent Km of 0.3, 85, 90, and 1400 microM for dCyd, dAdo, dGuo, and ara-A, respectively. The enzyme exhibited substrate activation with both pyrimidine and purine deoxyribonucleosides, suggesting that there is more than one substrate binding site on the kinase. These studies show that, in lymphoblasts and myeloblasts, purine deoxyribonucleosides and their analogues are phosphorylated by dCyd kinase, Ado kinase, and dGuo kinase.