Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

LaHoste, Gerald

Second Advisor

King, Bruce

Third Advisor

Daniel, Jill


Most behavioral, physiological and cellular effects of theneurotransmitter dopamine require concomitant activation of both D1 and D2 receptors, a phenomenon referred to as D1/D2 synergism. Since D1 and D2 receptors are located mostly on separate neurons, and since D1/D2 synergism occurs in the absence of action potentials, we have suggested that electrotonic coupling via gap junctions plays an important role in this phenomenon. A major constituent of gap junctions is connexin36 (Cx36), a protein that is abundant in neurons. The role Cx36 in D1/D2 synergism, as manifested behaviorally, was studied here in mice genetically engineered to express normal, reduced, or undetectable amounts of this protein. The results show that D1/D2 synergism and its breakdown were not affected by the presence or absence of Cx36. Unexpectedly, it was observed that the absence of Cx36 leads to resistance to the cataleptic effects of reserpine in a gene dosage-dependent manner.


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