Human dopamine D3 and D2L receptors couple to inward rectifier potassium channels in mammalian cell lines

Eldo V. Kuzhikandathil, Weifeng Yu, Gerry S. Oxford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

84 Scopus citations


The molecular mechanisms coupling the D3 dopamine receptor to downstream effectors have neither been well defined nor well characterized. Here we examine the coupling of the human D3 receptor to G-protein coupled inward rectifier potassium channels (GIRKs) in mammalian cells. Human D3 receptors couple strongly to homomeric human GIRK2 channels coexpressed in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells, with a coupling efficiency comparable to that of D2L receptors. The coupling between D3 receptors and native GIRK channels was examined in an AtT-20 mouse pituitary cell line stably expressing the human D3 receptor. AtT-20 cells endogenously express somatostatin and muscarinic receptors coupled to GIRK channels. RT-PCR and Western blot analyses revealed that AtT-20 cells natively express Kir3.1 and Kir3.2 channel isoforms, but not D2 or D3 dopamine receptors. In D3 receptor expressing AtT-20 cells, application of the D2/D3 receptor agonist, quinpirole, induces pertussis toxin-sensitive inward rectifying K+ currents that are blocked by barium. Activation of D3 receptors leads to both homologous desensitization of this receptor and an unusual unidirectional heterologous desensitization of somatostatin receptors. AtT-20 cells may be a good model to examine the functional role of D3 dopamine receptors in regulating neurotransmitter secretion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)390-402
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular and Cellular Neurosciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology

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