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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2011 May;1808(5):1245-55. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2011.02.007. Epub 2011 Feb 18.

Adenosine receptor containing oligomers: their role in the control of dopamine and glutamate neurotransmission in the brain.

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Departament de Patologia i Terapèutica Experimental, Universitat de Barcelona, 08097 L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Spain.


While the G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) oligomerization has been questioned during the last fifteen years, the existence of a multi-receptor complex involving direct receptor-receptor interactions, called receptor oligomers, begins to be widely accepted. Eventually, it has been postulated that oligomers constitute a distinct functional form of the GPCRs with essential receptorial features. Also, it has been proven, under certain circumstances, that the GPCR oligomerization phenomenon is crucial for the receptor biosynthesis, maturation, trafficking, plasma membrane diffusion, and pharmacology and signalling. Adenosine receptors are GPCRs that mediate the physiological functions of adenosine and indeed these receptors do also oligomerize. Accordingly, adenosine receptor oligomers may improve the molecular mechanism by which extracellular adenosine signals are transferred to the G proteins in the process of receptor transduction. Importantly, these adenosine receptor-containing oligomers may allow not only the control of the adenosinergic function but also the fine-tuning modulation of other neurotransmitter systems (i.e. dopaminergic and glutamatergic transmission). Overall, we underscore here recent significant developments based on adenosine receptor oligomerization that are essential for acquiring a better understanding of neurotransmission in the central nervous system under normal and pathological conditions.

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