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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the authors' final version prior to publication in Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience

Volume 46, Issue 3, March 2011, Pages 645-654.

The published version is available at DOI: 10.1016/j.mcn.2011.01.004. Copyright © Elsevier Inc.


We investigated the subcellular distribution of dopamine D(1), D(2) and D(5) receptor subtypes in rat frontal cortex, and examined whether psychostimulant-induced elevation of synaptic dopamine could alter the receptor distribution. Differential detergent solubilization and density gradient centrifugation were used to separate various subcellular fractions, followed by semi-quantitative determination of the relative abundance of specific receptor proteins in each fraction. D(1) receptors were predominantly localized to detergent-resistant membranes, and a portion of these receptors also floated on sucrose gradients. These properties are characteristic of proteins found in lipid rafts and caveolae. D(2) receptors exhibited variable distribution between cytoplasmic, detergent-soluble and detergent-resistant membrane fractions, yet were not present in buoyant membranes. Most D(5) receptor immunoreactivity was distributed into the cytoplasmic fraction, failing to sediment at forces up to 300,000g, while the remainder was localized to detergent-soluble membranes in cortex. D(5) receptors were undetectable in detergent-resistant fractions or raft-like subdomains. Following daily cocaine administration for seven days, a significant portion of D(1) receptors translocated from detergent-resistant membranes to detergent-soluble membranes and the cytoplasmic fraction. The distributions of D(5) and D(2) receptor subtypes were not significantly altered by cocaine treatment. These data imply that D(5) receptors are predominantly cytoplasmic, D(2) receptors are diffusely distributed within the cell, whereas D(1) receptors are mostly localized to lipid rafts within the rat frontal cortex. Dopamine receptor subtype localization is susceptible to modulation by pharmacological manipulations that elevate synaptic dopamine, however the functional implications of such drug-induced receptor warrant further investigation.

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