In this study, we investigated the activation of the serum response element (SRE) by the D2 dopamine receptor (D2R) agonist quinpirole. Stimulation of CHO cells expressing the D2R by quinpirol evoked a dose-dependent SRE activation, which was completely blocked by overnight treatment of pertussis toxin or by co-expression of the β-adrenergic receptor kinase C-terminus, implicating the involvement of Gαi and Gβγ in the signal transduction. Furthermore, using MEK inhibitors and dominant negative mutants of RhoA, Rac1, and Cdc42, we showed that the Gβγ-mediated activation of the SRE in CHO cells utilizes both MAPK and Rho pathways. Expression of either regulator of G protein signaling 2 or 4 (RGS2 or RGS4) proteins significantly attenuated the quinpirole-induced SRE activation. These results delineate the signaling pathways which couple D2 receptor to the transcriptional activation of SRE and demonstrate a modulatory role for RGS proteins in these processes.

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