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J Biol Chem. 2008 Sep 19;283(38):26016-25. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M710349200. Epub 2008 Jul 21.

Identification of dopamine D1-D3 receptor heteromers. Indications for a role of synergistic D1-D3 receptor interactions in the striatum.

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Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm 17177, Sweden.


The function of dopamine D(3) receptors present in the striatum has remained elusive. In the present study evidence is provided for the existence of dopamine D(1)-D(3) receptor heteromers and for an intramembrane D(1)-D(3) receptor cross-talk in living cells and in the striatum. The formation of D(1)-D(3) receptor heteromers was demonstrated by fluorescence resonance energy transfer and bioluminescence resonance energy transfer techniques in transfected mammalian cells. In membrane preparations from these cells, a synergistic D(1)-D(3) intramembrane receptor-receptor interaction was observed, by which D(3) receptor stimulation enhances D(1) receptor agonist affinity, indicating that the D(1)-D(3) intramembrane receptor-receptor interaction is a biochemical characteristic of the D(1)-D(3) receptor heteromer. The same biochemical characteristic was also observed in membrane preparations from brain striatum, demonstrating the striatal co-localization and heteromerization of D(1) and D(3) receptors. According to the synergistic D(1)-D(3) intramembrane receptor-receptor interaction, experiments in reserpinized mice showed that D(3) receptor stimulation potentiates D(1) receptor-mediated behavioral effects by a different mechanism than D(2) receptor stimulation. The present study shows that a main functional significance of the D(3) receptor is to obtain a stronger dopaminergic response in the striatal neurons that co-express the two receptors.

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