Heterodimeric adenosine receptors: a device to regulate neurotransmitter release

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2006 Nov;63(21):2427-31. doi: 10.1007/s00018-006-6216-2.


Since 1990 it has been known that dimers are the basic functional form of nearly all G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and that homo- and heterodimerization may play a key role in correct receptor maturation and trafficking to the plasma membrane. Nevertheless, homo- and heterodimerization of GPCR has become a matter of debate especially in the search for the precise physiological meaning of this phenomenon. This article focuses on how heterodimerization of adenosine A1 and A2A receptors, which are coupled to apparently opposite signalling pathways, allows adenosine to exert a fine-tuning modulation of striatal glutamatergic neurotransmission, providing a switch mechanism by which low and high concentrations of adenosine inhibit and stimulate, respectively, glutamate release.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Dimerization
  • Humans
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Purinergic P1 / metabolism*


  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Receptors, Purinergic P1
  • Adenosine