Expression of the Src-family kinases--Src, Hck, and Fgr--increases dramatically during myeloid cell development. Src-deficient mice exhibit functional abnormalities in only one myeloid cell type, the osteoclast, resulting in impaired bone remodeling and osteopetrosis, while hck-/- or fgr-/- mice have few and subtle myeloid cell deficiencies. To determine whether these limited phenotypes are due to the coexpression of multiple Src-family kinases with overlapping functions, we have intercrossed src-/- mice to hck-/- and fgr-/- mutants to produce double mutants. Two thirds of hck-/- src-/- double mutants die at birth; surviving animals develop a severe form of osteopetrosis, resulting in extreme levels of splenic extramedullary hematopoiesis, anemia, and leukopenia. These hematopoietic defects are caused by abnormalities in the bone marrow environment because hck-/- src-/- mutant stem cells reconstitute a normal hematopoietic system in irradiated wild-type mice. In contrast, fgr-/- src-/- double mutants have no defects beyond those observed in src-/- animals. Cultured normal murine osteoclasts express abundant amounts of Src, Hck, and Fgr and Hck levels are increased in src-/- osteoclasts. These observations suggest that Hck and Src serve partially overlapping functions in osteoclasts and that the expression of Hck in src-/- osteoclasts ameliorates their functional defects.

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