The dopamine D4 receptor: biochemical and signalling properties
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- Rondou, P., Haegeman, G. & Van Craenenbroeck, K. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. (2010) 67: 1971. doi:10.1007/s00018-010-0293-y
Dopamine is an important neurotransmitter that regulates several key functions in the brain, such as motor output, motivation and reward, learning and memory, and endocrine regulation. Dopamine does not mediate fast synaptic transmission, but rather modulates it by triggering slow-acting effects through the activation of dopamine receptors, which belong to the G-protein-coupled receptor superfamily. Besides activating different effectors through G-protein coupling, dopamine receptors also signal through interaction with a variety of proteins, collectively termed dopamine receptor-interacting proteins. We focus on the dopamine D4 receptor, which contains an important polymorphism in its third intracellular loop. This polymorphism has been the subject of numerous studies investigating links with several brain disorders, such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and schizophrenia. We provide an overview of the structure, signalling properties and regulation of dopamine D4 receptors, and briefly discuss their physiological and pathophysiological role in the brain.