Journal of biochemistry

Orchestrating the synaptic network by tyrosine phosphorylation signalling.

PMID 21508038


The establishment of a functional brain requires coordinated and stereotyped formation of synapses between neurons. For this, trans-synaptic molecular cues (synaptic organizers) are exchanged between a neuron and its target to organize appropriate synapses. The understanding of signalling mechanisms by which such synaptic organizers lead to synapse formation is just being elucidated. However, recent studies revealed that some of these cues act through receptor protein tyrosine kinases (RPTKs) or phosphatases (RPTPs). Synaptogenic RPTKs and RPTPs pattern synaptic network through affecting local protein-protein binding dynamics, changing the phosphorylation state of signalling cascades, or promoting gene expression. Each RPTK or RPTP has distinct roles in synapse formation, serving at different synapses or showing differential synaptogenic effects. Thus, tyrosine phosphorylation signalling plays critical roles in building the orchestrated synaptic circuitry in the brain.