Existence and theoretical aspects of homomeric and heteromeric dopamine receptor complexes and their relevance for neurological diseases

Luigi Francesco Agnati, Sergi Ferre, Raffaella Burioni, Amina Woods, Susanna Genedani, Rafael Franco, Kjell Fuxe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Dopamine (DA) and other receptors physically interact in the plasma membrane of basal ganglia neurons forming receptor mosaics (RMs). Two types of RMs are discussed, homomers formed only by DA-receptor (DA-R) subtypes and heteromers formed by DA-R associated with other receptors, such as A2A, A1, mGluR5, N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA), γ-aminobutryic acid (GABA)-A, and α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid. By being part of horizontal molecular networks, RMs tune multiple effector systems already at membrane level, such as G protein regulated inward rectifying potassium channels and dopamine transporter activity. Also, ligand-gated ion channels such as GABA-A and NMDA receptors are modulated by DA-R, e.g., in the striatal GABA output neurons through the formation of heteromeric complexes with these receptors. Thus, intramembrane DA-R-receptor interactions play an important role in the information handling in the basal ganglia. On this basis, functional implications of DA RM in physiological and pathological conditions are discussed. The effects of temperature on RM are discussed not only because receptor-decoding mechanisms are temperature sensitive, but also in view of the suggestion that possible ordering effects (i.e., changes in the entropy of a receptor complex) induced by a ligand are as a result of alterations in the receptor oligomerization (i.e., are related to rearrangements of the RM). Hence, brain temperature may have profound effects on brain integrative functions not only because its effects on the kinetics of biochemical reactions, but also for its effects on receptor geometry, building up of RM, and alterations in protein expression, as is the case of H-channels following febrile seizures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-78
Number of pages18
JournalNeuroMolecular Medicine
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Feb 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Basal ganglia
  • Dopamine heteromers
  • Dopamine homomers
  • Enthalpy
  • Entropy
  • Free energy landscape
  • Receptor mosaic
  • Receptor oligomerization
  • Receptor-receptor interactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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