TAM receptors in phagocytosis: Beyond the mere internalization of particles

Tal Burstyn-Cohen*, Roberta Fresia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


TYRO3, AXL, and MERTK constitute the TAM family of receptor tyrosine kinases, activated by their ligands GAS6 and PROS1. TAMs are necessary for adult homeostasis in the immune, nervous, reproductive, skeletal, and vascular systems. Among additional cellular functions employed by TAMs, phagocytosis is central for tissue health. TAM receptors are dominant in providing phagocytes with the molecular machinery necessary to engulf diverse targets, including apoptotic cells, myelin debris, and portions of live cells in a phosphatidylserine-dependent manner. Simultaneously, TAMs drive the release of anti-inflammatory and tissue repair molecules. Disruption of the TAM-driven phagocytic pathway has detrimental consequences, resulting in autoimmunity, male infertility, blindness, and disrupted vascular integrity, and which is thought to contribute to neurodegenerative diseases. Although structurally and functionally redundant, the TAM receptors and ligands underlie complex signaling cascades, of which several key aspects are yet to be elucidated. We discuss similarities and differences between TAMs and other phagocytic pathways, highlight future directions and how TAMs can be harnessed therapeutically to modulate phagocytosis.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)7-26
Number of pages20
JournalImmunological Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Immunological Reviews published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • TAM receptors
  • homeostasis
  • inflammation
  • phagocytosis


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