TAM receptor signaling and synaptic function

One TAM receptor – Tyro3 – is expressed at high levels by neurons of the central nervous system8. However, its role in these cells has remained mysterious. Using electrophysiological recordings from hippocampal slices prepared from wild-type versus Tyro3-deficient mice, we have found that synapses between CA3 and CA1 neurons in the hippocampus are exceptionally weak in the absence of Tyro3, and that this physiological deficit is accompanied by dramatic alterations in the ultrastructure of the pre-synaptic terminals at these synapses. We are now studying these physiological and cell biological deficits in detail. 

8. Lai, C. & Lemke, G. (1991) An extended family of protein-tyrosine kinase genes differentially expressed in the vertebrate nervous system. Neuron 6 (5), 691-704.