Circulating platelets are primed to respond very rapidly to thrombogenic stimuli, but most platelets complete their lifespan without ever becoming activated. Platelet activation is accompanied by waves of sequential tyrosine phosphorylation thought to involve members of the Src family of protein tyrosine kinases (PTKs). We show here that resting platelets contain highly active pp53/56(Lyn) PTK within membrane microdomains (rafts) isolated biochemically with or without the use of detergent. This fraction is also greatly enriched in the transmembrane glycoprotein CD36, known to associate with Lyn PTK, but in transfection studies we could find no evidence to suggest that CD36 affects the distribution or function of Lyn. Upon platelet activation Lyn activity remains constant or diminishes and pp60(c-src) PTK within this fraction becomes highly activated, indicating the dynamic nature of the membrane microdomains. It is suggested that the function of active Lyn PTK in the resting platelet is to allow prolonged survival of this anucleate cell.