Dopamine Receptors

Author: Gianpiero Pescarmona
Date: 05/12/2017



Dopamine receptors are a class of G protein-coupled receptors that are prominent in the vertebrate central nervous system (CNS). The neurotransmitter dopamine is the primary endogenous ligand for dopamine receptors.

Dopamine receptors are implicated in many neurological processes, including motivation, pleasure, cognition, memory, learning, and fine motor control, as well as modulation of neuroendocrine signaling. Abnormal dopamine receptor signaling and dopaminergic nerve function is implicated in several neuropsychiatric disorders. Thus, dopamine receptors are common neurologic drug targets; antipsychotics are often dopamine receptor antagonists while psychostimulants are typically indirect agonists of dopamine receptors.

History of Dopamine Receptors




When relevant for the function

  • Primary structure
  • Secondary structure
  • Tertiary structure
  • Quaternary structure

Protein Aminoacids Percentage (Width 700 px)

From the evolutionary point of view (Glu/Gln) they are quite similar.
DRD2 has a significantly higher:

  • methionine (high protein synthesis, high mTOR)
  • histidine
  • thyrosine (high BH4 and NADPH)

and a lower:

  • alanine
  • serine

Less pyruvate (glucose) available, slower oxidative metabolism?

mRNA synthesis
protein synthesis

post-translational modifications


cellular localization

biological function

Novel insights in dopamine receptor physiology. 2007

  • Abstract
    The dopaminergic system has a pivotal role in the central nervous system but also plays important roles in the periphery, mainly in the endocrine system. Dopamine exerts its functions via five different receptors, named D(1)-D(5), belonging to the category of G protein coupled membrane receptors. Dopamine receptors are heterogeneously expressed in different cells, tissues and organs, where they stimulate or inhibit different functions, including neurotransmission and hormone synthesis and secretion. In particular, the dopamineric system has a pivotal role in the physiological regulation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis. Recent data have demonstrated the expression and function of dopamine receptors not only in endocrine organs but also in endocrine tumors, mainly those belonging to the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis, and also in the so-called 'neuroendocrine' tumors. These data confirm the important role of the dopaminergic system in this endocrine axis, as well as in the neuroendocrine system. This review summarizes the main structural and functional characteristics of dopamine receptors, emphasizing the most recent novelties, and focused on the physiological and pathological regulation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis by the dopaminergic system. In addition, the recent findings on the relationship between dopamine receptors and neuroendocrine tumors are summarized.
  • Enzymes
BRENDA - The Comprehensive Enzyme Information System"URL":
KEGG Pathways"URL":
Human Metabolome Database"URL":
  • Cell signaling and Ligand transport
  • Structural proteins



2019-04-25T22:11:24 - Gianpiero Pescarmona

Thyroid hormone and adrenergic signaling interact to control pineal expression of the dopamine receptor D4 gene (Drd4). 2011
Dopamine plays diverse and important roles in vertebrate biology, impacting behavior and physiology through actions mediated by specific G protein-coupled receptors, one of which is the dopamine receptor D4 (Drd4). Here we present studies on the >100-fold daily rhythm in rat pineal Drd4 expression. Our studies indicate that Drd4 is the dominant dopamine receptor gene expressed in the pineal gland. The gene is expressed in pinealocytes at levels which are ∼100-fold greater than in other tissues, except the retina, in which transcript levels are similar. Pineal Drd4 expression is circadian in nature and under photoneural control. Whereas most rhythmically expressed genes in the pineal are controlled by a norepinephrine-cAMP signaling, Drd4 expression also requires thyroid hormone. This advance raises the questions of whether Drd4 expression is regulated by this mechanism in other systems and whether thyroid hormone controls expression of other genes in the pineal gland.

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