The molecular code that controls synapse formation and maintenance in vivo has remained quite sparse. Here, we identify that the secreted protein Adamtsl3 functions as critical hippocampal synapse organizer acting through the transmembrane receptor DCC (deleted in colorectal cancer). Traditionally, DCC function has been associated with glutamatergic synaptogenesis and plasticity in response to Netrin-1 signaling. We demonstrate that early post-natal deletion of Adamtsl3 in neurons impairs DCC protein expression, causing reduced density of both glutamatergic and GABAergic synapses. Adult deletion of Adamtsl3 in either GABAergic or glutamatergic neurons does not interfere with DCC-Netrin-1 function at glutamatergic synapses but controls DCC signaling at GABAergic synapses. The Adamtsl3-DCC signaling unit is further essential for activity-dependent adaptations at GABAergic synapses, involving DCC phosphorylation and Src kinase activation. These findings might be particularly relevant for schizophrenia because genetic variants in Adamtsl3 and DCC have been independently linked with schizophrenia in patients.