High agonist-independent activity is a distinguishing feature of the dopamine D1B receptor subtype.
Dopamine D1A and D1B receptor subtypes belong to the superfamily of G protein-coupled receptors. Both receptors are coupled to the activation of adenylyl cyclase and exhibit distinct brain distribution. To identify functional differences, binding and stimulation of adenylyl cyclase were assessed in 293 cells expressing transiently either dopamine D1A or D1B receptors. Membranes expressing D1B receptors displayed higher affinities for agonists than those expressing D1A receptors, whereas antagonist affinities were lower at the D1B than at the D1A receptor. Basal activity of adenylyl cyclase in whole 293 cells expressing various levels of D1B receptors was significantly higher than the basal activity measured in cells expressing D1A receptors. Maximal activation of adenylyl cyclase resulting from stimulation of the D1B receptor was less than that obtained following agonist activation of the D1A receptor. In cells expressing D1B receptors, agonists displayed an increased potency for stimulating adenylyl cyclase in comparison with the potencies determined for the D1A receptor. On the other hand, certain antagonists displayed "negative efficacy" at both receptor subtypes but had a more profound inhibition on the agonist-independent signaling activity of the D1B receptor. The properties described here are reminiscent of those of constitutively active G protein-coupled receptors obtained by site-directed mutations. Thus, the D1B receptor may represent a naturally occurring receptor subtype with properties akin to those of constitutively active G protein-coupled receptors. The different anatomical distribution and biochemical properties of these D1 receptors strengthen the functional distinctions between the two subtypes and could account for the basis of heterogeneity within a given class of neurotransmitter or hormone receptors. In addition, if these properties are recapitulated in cells expressing the D1B receptors, they may underlie important role in the regulation of physiological effects by dopamine. Finally, these results raise the interesting possibility that psychotropic antagonist drugs used in the management of certain brain disorders may have their beneficial actions as negative efficacy compounds.
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