Activation of dopamine D1 receptors is critical for the generation of glutamate-induced long-term potentiation at corticostriatal synapses. In this study, we report that, in striatal neurons, D1 receptors are co-localized with N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in the postsynaptic density and that they co-immunoprecipitate with NMDA receptor subunits from postsynaptic density preparations. Using modified bioluminescence resonance energy transfer, we demonstrate that D1 and NMDA receptor clustering reflects the existence of direct interactions. The tagged D1 receptor and NR1 subunit cotransfected in COS-7 cells generated a significant bioluminescence resonance energy transfer signal that was insensitive to agonist stimulation and that did not change in the presence of the NR2B subunit, suggesting that the D1 receptor constitutively and selectively interacts with the NR1 subunit of the NMDA channel. Oligomerization with the NR1 subunit substantially modified D1 receptor trafficking. In individually transfected HEK293 cells, NR1 was localized in the endoplasmic reticulum, whereas the D1 receptor was targeted to the plasma membrane. In cotransfected cells, both the D1 receptor and NR1 subunit were retained in cytoplasmic compartments. In the presence of the NR2B subunit, the NR1-D1 receptor complex was translocated to the plasma membrane. These data suggest that D1 and NMDA receptors are assembled within intracellular compartments as constitutive heteromeric complexes that are delivered to functional sites. Coexpression with NR1 and NR2B subunits also abolished agonist-induced D1 receptor cytoplasmic sequestration, indicating that oligomerization with the NMDA receptor could represent a novel regulatory mechanism modulating D1 receptor desensitization and cellular trafficking.
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