A dopamine D(2Short) receptor:G(alphao) fusion protein was expressed in Sf9 cells using the baculovirus expression system. [(3)H]Spiperone bound to D(2Short):G(alphao) with a pK(d) approximately 10. Dopamine stimulated the binding of [(35)S]guanosine-5'-O-(3-thio)triphosphate (GTPgammaS) to D(2Short):G(alphao) expressed with Gbeta(1)gamma(2) (E(max)>460%; pEC(50) 5.43+/-0.06). Most of the putative D(2) antagonists behaved as inverse agonists (suppressing basal [(35)S]GTPgammaS binding) at D(2Short):G(alphao)/Gbeta(1)gamma(2) although (-)-sulpiride and ziprasidone were neutral antagonists. Competition of [(3)H]spiperone binding by dopamine and 10,11-dihydroxy-N-n-propylnorapomorphine revealed two binding sites of different affinities, even in the presence of GTP (100 micro M). The D(2Short):G(alphao) fusion protein is therefore a good model for characterising D(2) receptors.