The repertoire of signal transduction pathways activated by dopamine in brain includes the increase of intracellular calcium. However the mechanism(s) by which dopamine activated this important second messenger system was/were unknown. Although we showed that activation of the D5 dopamine receptor increased calcium concentrations, the restricted anatomic distribution of this receptor made this unlikely to be the major mechanism in brain. We have identified novel heteromeric dopamine receptor complexes that are linked to calcium signaling. The calcium pathway activated through the D1-D2 receptor heteromer involved coupling to Gq, through phospholipase C and IP(3) receptors to result in a rise in intracellular calcium. The calcium rise activated through the D2-D5 receptor heteromer involved a small rise in intracellular calcium through the Gq pathway that triggered a store-operated channel mediated influx of extracellular calcium. These novel receptor heteromeric complexes, for the first time, establish the link between dopamine action and rapid calcium signaling.
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