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The Brain & the Actions of Cocaine, Opiates, and Marijuana

Dopamine and the production of cyclic AMP

Using the close-up view, explain what happens when dopamine binds to its receptor. When dopamine binds to its receptor, another protein called a G-protein (in pink) moves up close to the dopamine receptor. The G-protein signals an enzyme to produce cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) molecules (in green) inside the cell. [Sometimes the signal can decrease production of cAMP, depending on the kind of dopamine receptor and G-protein present.] Point to the dopamine receptor-G-protein/adenylate cyclase complex, and show how cAMP is generated when dopamine binds to its receptor. Indicate that cAMP (point to the cyclic-looking structures) controls many important functions in the cell including the ability of the cell to generate electrical impulses.

This page was last updated January 2007

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NIDA (2007). The Brain & the Actions of Cocaine, Opiates, and Marijuana. Retrieved , from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/brain-actions-cocaine-opiates-marijuana

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