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Cell. 2002 Jun 14;109(6):733-43.

betagamma Dimers mediate synergy of dopamine D2 and adenosine A2 receptor-stimulated PKA signaling and regulate ethanol consumption.

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Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA.


Dopamine release is activated by ethanol and addicting drugs, but molecular mechanisms linking dopaminergic signaling to neuronal responses and drinking behavior are poorly understood. We report that dopamine-D2 receptors induce PKA Calpha translocation and increase CRE-regulated gene expression. Ethanol also activates PKA signaling. Subthreshold concentrations of the D2 agonist NPA and ethanol, without effect alone, together cause synergistic PKA translocation and CRE-mediated gene transcription. D2 or adenosine A2 receptor blockade, pertussis toxin, Rp-cAMPS, or overexpression of dominant-negative peptides that sequester betagamma dimers prevent synergy. Importantly, overexpression of a betagamma inhibitor peptide in the nucleus accumbens strikingly reduces sustained alcohol consumption. We propose that synergy of D2 and A2 confers ethanol hypersensitivity and that betagamma dimers are required for voluntary drinking.

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