Evidence for adenosine/dopamine receptor interactions: indications for heteromerization

Neuropsychopharmacology. 2000 Oct;23(4 Suppl):S50-9. doi: 10.1016/S0893-133X(00)00144-5.


Evidence has been obtained for adenosine/dopamine interactions in the central nervous system. There exists an anatomical basis for the existence of functional interactions between adenosine A(1)R and dopamine D(1)R and between adenosine A(2A) and dopamine D(2) receptors in the same neurons. Selective A(1)R agonists affect negatively the high affinity binding of D(1) receptors. Activation of A(2A) receptors leads to a decrease in receptor affinity for dopamine agonists acting on D(2) receptors, specially of the high-affinity state. These interactions have been reproduced in cell lines and found to be of functional significance. Adenosine/dopamine interactions at the behavioral level probably reflect those found at the level of dopamine receptor binding and transduction. All these findings suggest receptor subtype-specific interactions between adenosine and dopamine receptors that may be achieved by molecular interactions (e.g., receptor heterodimerization). At the molecular level adenosine receptors can serve as a model for homomeric and heteromeric protein-protein interactions. A1R forms homodimers in membranes and also form high-order molecular structures containing also heterotrimeric G-proteins and adenosine deaminase. The occurrence of clustering also clearly suggests that G-protein- coupled receptors form high-order molecular structures, in which multimers of the receptors and probably other interacting proteins form functional complexes. In view of the occurrence of homodimers of adenosine and of dopamine receptors it is speculated that heterodimers between these receptors belonging to two different families of G-protein-coupled receptors can be formed. Evidence that A1/D1 can form heterodimers in cotransfected cells and in primary cultures of neurons has in fact been obtained. In the central nervous system direct and indirect receptor-receptor interactions via adaptor proteins participate in neurotransmission and neuromodulation and, for example, in the establishment of high neural functions such as learning and memory.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System / cytology
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism
  • Dimerization
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Receptors, Dopamine / chemistry
  • Receptors, Dopamine / drug effects
  • Receptors, Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Purinergic P1 / chemistry
  • Receptors, Purinergic P1 / drug effects
  • Receptors, Purinergic P1 / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Receptors, Dopamine
  • Receptors, Purinergic P1
  • GTP-Binding Proteins