In the Loop: Extrastriatal Regulation of Spiny Projection Neurons by GPR52

Daisy L. Spark, Miaomiao Mao, Sherie Ma, Mohsin Sarwar, Cameron J. Nowell, David M. Shackleford, Patrick M. Sexton, Jess Nithianantharajah, Gregory D. Stewart, Christopher J. Langmead

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4 Citations (Scopus)


GPR52 is a Gαs-coupled orphan receptor identified as a putative target for the treatment of schizophrenia. The unique expression and signaling profile of GPR52 in key areas of dopamine and glutamate dysregulation suggests its activation may resolve both cortical and striatal dysfunction in the disorder. GPR52 mRNA is enriched in the striatum, almost exclusively on dopamine D2-expressing medium spiny neurons (MSNs), and to a lesser extent in the cortex, predominantly on D1-expressing pyramidal neurons. Synthetic, small molecule GPR52 agonists are effective in preclinical models of psychosis; however, the relative contribution of cortical and striatal GPR52 is unknown. Here we show that the GPR52 agonist, 3-BTBZ, inhibits phencyclidine-induced hyperlocomotor activity to a greater degree than amphetamine-induced motor effects, suggesting a mechanism beyond functional antagonism of striatal dopamine D2 receptor signaling. Using DARPP-32 phosphorylation and electrophysiological recordings in either striatopallidal or striatonigral MSNs, we were surprised to find no significant effect of 3-BTBZ in striatopallidal MSNs, but GPR52-mediated effects in striatonigral MSNs, where its mRNA is absent. 3-BTBZ increases phosphorylation of T75 on DARPP-32 in striatonigral MSNs, an effect that was dependent on cortical inputs. A similar role for GPR52 in regulating extrastriatal glutamatergic drive onto striatonigral MSNs was also evident in recordings of spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents and was shown to be dependent on the metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptor subtype 1. Our results demonstrate that GPR52-mediated regulation of striatal function depends heavily on extrastriatal inputs, which may further support its utility as a novel target for the treatment of schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2066-2076
Number of pages11
JournalACS Chemical Neuroscience
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2020


  • DARPP-32
  • dopamine
  • glutamate
  • GPR52
  • schizophrenia
  • striatum

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