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Int J Dev Neurosci. 2000 Nov;18(7):669-77.

Coupling of dopamine receptor subtypes to multiple and diverse G proteins.

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Laboratory of Molecular Neurochemistry, Department of Pediatrics, Georgetown University Medical Center, Georgetown University, 3970 Reservoir Road, NW, Washington, DC 20007, USA.


The family of five dopamine receptors subtypes activate cellular effector systems through G proteins. Historically, dopamine receptors were thought to only stimulate or inhibit adenylyl cyclase, by coupling to either G(s)alpha or G(i)alpha, respectively. Recent studies in transfected cells, reviewed here, have shown that multiple and highly diverse signaling pathways are activated by specific dopamine receptor subtypes. This multiplicity of signaling responses occurs through selective coupling to distinct G proteins and each of the receptors can interact with more than one G protein. Although some of the multiple coupling of dopamine receptors to different G proteins occurs from within the same family of G proteins, these receptors can also couple to G proteins belonging to different families. Such multiple interactions between receptors and G proteins elicits functionally distinct physiological effects which acts to enhance and subsequently suppress the original receptor response, and to activate apparently distinct signaling pathways. In the brain, where coexpression of functionally distinct receptors in heterogeneous cells further adds to the complexity of dopamine signaling, minor alterations in receptor/G protein coupling states during either development or in adults, may underlie the imbalanced signaling seen in dopaminergic-linked diseases such as schizophrenia, Parkinson's disease and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

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