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J Neurosci. 2006 Mar 1;26(9):2513-21.

Dopamine D3 receptors regulate GABAA receptor function through a phospho-dependent endocytosis mechanism in nucleus accumbens.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Biophysics, State University of New York, Buffalo, New York 14214, USA.


The dopamine D3 receptor, which is highly enriched in nucleus accumbens (NAc), has been suggested to play an important role in reinforcement and reward. To understand the potential cellular mechanism underlying D3 receptor functions, we examined the effect of D3 receptor activation on GABAA receptor (GABAAR)-mediated current and inhibitory synaptic transmission in medium spiny neurons of NAc. Application of PD128907 [(4aR,10bR)-3,4a,4,10b-tetrahydro-4-propyl-2H,5H-[1]benzopyrano-[4,3-b]-1,4-oxazin-9-ol hydrochloride], a specific D3 receptor agonist, caused a significant reduction of GABAAR current in acutely dissociated NAc neurons and miniature IPSC amplitude in NAc slices. This effect was blocked by dialysis with a dynamin inhibitory peptide, which prevents the clathrin/activator protein 2 (AP2)-mediated GABAA receptor endocytosis. In addition, the D3 effect on GABAAR current was prevented by agents that manipulate protein kinase A (PKA) activity. Infusion of a peptide derived from GABAAR beta subunits, which contains an atypical binding motif for the clathrin AP2 adaptor complex and the major PKA phosphorylation sites and binds with high affinity to AP2 only when dephosphorylated, diminished the D3 regulation of IPSC amplitude. The phosphorylated equivalent of the peptide was without effect. Moreover, PD128907 increased GABAAR internalization and reduced the surface expression of GABAA receptor beta subunits in NAc slices, which was prevented by dynamin inhibitory peptide or cAMP treatment. Together, our results suggest that D3 receptor activation suppresses the efficacy of inhibitory synaptic transmission in NAc by increasing the phospho-dependent endocytosis of GABAA receptors.

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