Tyrosine kinases were first characterized in terms of their function during development. Over the past decade, it has become clear that tyrosine phosphorylation also plays an important role in the adult mammalian nervous system. This article reviews three different families of tyrosine kinase signaling cascades: the Trk receptor tyrosine kinases, the Src family of non-receptor tyrosine kinases and the Eph receptor tyrosine kinases. Each of these cascades has been implicated in both adult synaptic plasticity and memory formation. Evidence from invertebrate systems also demonstrates a role for tyrosine kinase signaling in the induction of long-term memory, suggesting that molecular mechanisms of memory formation are conserved across species.
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