A major obstacle to understanding the functional importance of dimerization between class A G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) has been the methodological limitation in achieving control of the identity of the components comprising the signaling unit. We have developed a functional complementation assay that enables such control, and we demonstrate it here for the human dopamine D2 receptor. The minimal signaling unit, two receptors and a single G protein, is maximally activated by agonist binding to a single protomer, which suggests an asymmetrical activated dimer. Inverse agonist binding to the second protomer enhances signaling, whereas agonist binding to the second protomer blunts signaling. Ligand-independent constitutive activation of the second protomer also inhibits signaling. Thus, GPCR dimer function can be modulated by the activity state of the second protomer, which for a heterodimer may be altered in pathological states. Our new methodology also makes possible the characterization of signaling from a defined heterodimer unit.