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Methods Mol Biol. 2013;964:3-13. doi: 10.1007/978-1-62703-251-3_1.

Detection of cell surface dopamine receptors.

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  • 1Cardiovascular Institute, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


Dopamine receptors are a class of metabotropic G protein-coupled receptors. Plasma membrane expression is a key determinant of receptor signaling, and one that is regulated both by extra and intracellular cues. Abnormal dopamine receptor signaling is implicated in several neuropsychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, as well as drug abuse. Here, we describe in detail the application of two complementary applications of protein biotinylation and enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assay (ELISA) for detecting and quantifying levels of dopamine receptors expressed on the cell surface. In the biotinylation method, cell surface receptors are labeled with Sulfo-NHS-biotin. The charge on the sulfonyl facilitates water solubility of the reactive biotin compound and prevents its diffusion across the plasma membrane. In the ELISA method, surface labeling is achieved with antibodies specific to extracellular epitopes on the receptors, and by fixing the cells without detergent such that the plasma membrane remains intact.

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