Decoding dopamine signaling.

Department of Psychiatry, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas 75390, USA.
Cell (Impact Factor: 33.12). 08/2005; 122(2):153-5. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2005.07.011
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Dopamine is a key neurotransmitter that is important for many physiological functions including motor control, mood, and the reward pathway. In this issue of Cell, the laboratories of Marc Caron and Li-Huei Tsai identify two very different molecules--beta-arrestin 2 and Par-4, respectively--that unexpectedly are involved in dopamine signaling via the D2 receptor. These two new signaling pathways mediate the actions of dopamine on behavior and facilitate crosstalk between different signaling pathways that are activated by binding of dopamine to the D2 receptor.

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    ABSTRACT: Because of the complex causal factors leading to depression, epigenetics is of considerable interest for the understanding effect of stress in depression. Dopamine is a key neurotransmitter important in many physiological functions, including motor control, mood, and the reward pathway. These factors lead many drugs to target Dopamine receptors in treating depressive disorders. In this review, we try to portray how chronic stress as an epigenetic factor changes the gene regulation pattern by interrupting Dopamine signaling mechanism.
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    ABSTRACT: Dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) govern reward and motivation and dysregulated dopaminergic transmission may account for anhedonia and other symptoms of depression. Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) is a proline-directed serine/threonine kinase that regulates a broad range of brain functions through phosphorylation of a myriad of substrates, including tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), the rate-limiting enzyme for dopamine synthesis. We investigated whether and how Cdk5 activity in VTA dopamine neurons regulated depression-related behaviors in mice. Using the Cre/LoxP system to selectively delete Cdk5 in the VTA or in midbrain dopamine neurons in Cdk5(loxP/loxP) mice, we showed that Cdk5 loss of function in the VTA induced anxiety- and depressive-like behaviors that were associated with decreases in TH phosphorylation at Ser31 and Ser40 in the VTA and dopamine release in its target region, the nucleus accumbens. The decreased phosphorylation of TH at Ser31 was a direct effect of Cdk5 deletion, whereas decreased phosphorylation of TH at Ser40 was likely caused by impaired cAMP/protein kinase A (PKA) signaling, because Cdk5 deletion decreased cAMP and phosphorylated cAMP response element-binding protein (p-CREB) levels in the VTA. Using Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs (DREADD) technology, we showed that selectively increasing cAMP levels in VTA dopamine neurons increased phosphorylation of TH at Ser40 and CREB at Ser133 and reversed behavioral deficits induced by Cdk5 deletion. The results suggest that Cdk5 in the VTA regulates cAMP/PKA signaling, dopaminergic neurotransmission, and depression-related behaviors.
    Journal of Neuroscience 04/2014; 34(18):6352-6366. · 6.75 Impact Factor