Optimization of FRET method to detect dimerization of dopamine D2 and adenosine A2A receptors in live cells

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Middle East Technical University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Biology, Turkey

Approval Date: 2011

Thesis Language: English

Student: Gökhan Ünlü



Recent studies demonstrate that there are several G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) that dimerize with other GPCRs and form heterodimers. Adenosine A2A-Dopamine D2 receptor interaction is one of the examples for GPCR heterodimerization. Both receptors bear critical roles in physiological processes. Adenosine A2A receptor has functions in neurotransmission, cardiovascular system and immune response. On the other hand, dopamine receptors are the key point of dopaminergic system, which controls the regulation of memory, attention, food intake, endocrine regulation, psychomotor activity and positive reinforcement. Deregulation in dopamine signaling could cause neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia. Dopamine D2R and adenosine A2AR have been shown to interact in striatum and modulate dopaminergic activity. The purpose of this study is to optimize Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) method to detect dimerization of D2R and A2AR by tagging them with EGFP (enhanced green fluorescent protein) and mCherry (a red fluorescent protein) in live N2a cell line using laser scanning confocal microscope. Establishing this model will pave the ways for understanding mechanisms of interaction between dopamine and adenosine signaling, thereby, contributing to the understanding molecular mechanisms of some neurophysiological events and disorders. Moreover, the fluorescence based live cell model will be used to detect effects of potential anti-psychotic drugs on the interaction of these two receptors. Indeed, follow-up studies are necessary to extend the limits of this project. Further imaging analyses and drug-receptor interaction studies can be readily applied to extract more information on dopamine-adenosine signaling by using the system developed with this thesis study.