TAM receptor signaling in development

Int J Dev Biol. 2017;61(3-4-5):215-224. doi: 10.1387/ijdb.160285tb.


TYRO3, AXL and MERTK comprise the TAM family of receptor protein tyrosine kinases. Activated by their ligands, protein S (PROS1) and growth-arrest-specific 6 (GAS6), they mediate numerous cellular functions throughout development and adulthood. Expressed by a myriad of cell types and tissues, they have been implicated in homeostatic regulation of the immune, nervous, vascular, bone and reproductive systems. The loss-of-function of TAM signaling in adult tissues culminates in the destruction of tissue homeostasis and diseased states, while TAM gain-of-function in various tumors promotes cancer phenotypes. Combinatorial ligand-receptor interactions may elicit different molecular and cellular responses. Many of the TAM regulatory functions are essentially developmental, taking place both during embryogenesis and postnatally. This review highlights current knowledge on the role of TAM receptors and their ligands during these developmental processes in the immune, nervous, vascular and reproductive systems.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axl Receptor Tyrosine Kinase
  • Blood Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cardiovascular System / embryology
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Survival
  • Genitalia / embryology
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Immune System / embryology
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism*
  • Ligands
  • Mice
  • Nervous System / embryology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Phenotype
  • Protein S
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*
  • c-Mer Tyrosine Kinase / metabolism


  • Blood Proteins
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Ligands
  • PROS1 protein, human
  • Protein S
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • growth arrest-specific protein 6
  • MERTK protein, human
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • TYRO3 protein, human
  • c-Mer Tyrosine Kinase
  • Axl Receptor Tyrosine Kinase