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Dopamine receptor D4
Symbols DRD4; D4DR
External IDs OMIM126452 MGI94926 HomoloGene20215 IUPHAR: D4 GeneCards: DRD4 Gene
RNA expression pattern
PBB GE DRD4 208215 x at tn.png
More reference expression data
Species Human Mouse
Entrez 1815 13491
Ensembl ENSG00000069696 ENSMUSG00000025496
UniProt P21917 Q7TT80
RefSeq (mRNA) NM_000797 NM_007878
RefSeq (protein) NP_000788 NP_031904
Location (UCSC) Chr 11:
0.63 - 0.63 Mb
Chr 7:
141.14 - 141.15 Mb
PubMed search [1] [2]

The dopamine receptor D4 is a G protein-coupled receptor encoded by the DRD4 gene.[1] As with other dopamine receptor subtypes, the D4 receptor is activated by the neurotransmitter dopamine. It is also a target for drugs which treat schizophrenia and Parkinson disease. The D4 receptor is considered to be D2-like in which the activated receptor inhibits the enzyme adenylate cyclase, thereby reducing the intracellular concentration of the second messenger cyclic AMP.[2]



The human protein is coded by the DRD4 on chromosome 11 located in 11p15.5.

There are slight variations (mutations/polymorphisms) in the human gene:

  • A 48-base pair VNTR in exon 3
  • C-521T in the promotor
  • 13-base pair deletion of bases 235 to 247 in exon 1
  • 12 base pair repeat in exon I.[3]
  • Val194Gly
  • A polymorphic tandem duplication of 120 bp

Mutations in this gene have been associated with various behavioral phenotypes, including autonomic nervous system dysfunction, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder,[4] schizophrenia,[5] and the personality trait of novelty seeking.[6]


48-base pair VNTR

The 48-base pair VNTR in exon 3 range from 2 to 11 repeats. The frequency of the alleles varies greatly between populations, e.g., the 7-repeat version has high incidence in American and low in Asia.[7] "Long" versions of polymorphisms are the alleles with 6 to 10 repeats.

The 'DRD4 long' variant, or more specifically the 7 repeat (7R), has been loosely linked to a susceptibility for developing ADHD[8] and other psychological traits and disorders, like autism and bulimia nervosa[9]

7R appears to react less strongly to dopamine molecules.[10].

The 48 bp VNTR has been the subject of much speculation about its evolution and role in human behaviors cross-culturally. The 7R allele appears to have been selected for about 40,000 years ago.[7]. In 1999 Chen and colleagues[11] observed that populations who migrated farther in the past 30,000 to 1,000 years ago had a higher frequency of 7R/long alleles. They also showed that nomadic populations had higher frequencies of 7R alleles than sedentary ones. More recently it was observed that the health status of nomadic Ariaal men was higher if they had 7R alleles. However in recently sedentary (non-nomadic) Ariaal those with 7R alleles seemed to have slightly deteriorated health.[12]

Novelty seeking

In two studies published in Nature Genetics,[13][14] subjects filled out personality questionnaires and had blood taken for genetic analysis. The scientists found that those whose answers showed them to be exploratory and excitable — two hallmarks of novelty-seeking — also possessed a longer 7 repeat (7R) version of D4DR, compared with those who are more reserved and reflective. A few other studies have replicated these results (including two done in Japan) but at least one has found no such correlation. In any case, thrill-seeking behavior is probably mediated by several genes, and the variance attributable to D4DR by itself is not particularly large.

A 2002 meta-analysis compared 22 published studies of novelty seeking and the polymorphism and found a so small effect that the meta-analysis could not support the relationship. Instead the pointed to another polymorphism in the gene: the -521C/T which seemed to have a small effect on novelty seeking.[15]


Chemical structures of representative D4-preferring ligands.


  • WAY-100635: potent full agonist, with 5-HT1A antagonistic component[16]
  • A-412,997: full agonist, > 100-fold selective over a panel of seventy different receptors and ion channels[17]
  • ABT-724 - developed for treatment of erectile dysfunction[18]
  • ABT-670 - better oral bioavailability than ABT-724[19]
  • FAUC 316: partial agonist, > 8600-fold selective over other dopamine receptor subtypes[20]
  • FAUC 299: partial agonist[20]
  • (E)-1-aryl-3-(4-pyridinepiperazin-1-yl)propanone oximes[21]
  • PIP3EA: partial agonist[22]
  • Flibanserin - partial agonist
  • PD-168,077 - D4 selective but also binds to α1A, α2C and 5HT1A
  • CP-226,269 - D4 selective but also binds to D2, D3, α2A, α2C and 5HT1A
  • Ro10-5824 - partial agonist


Inverse agonists

See also


  1. ^ Van Tol HH, Bunzow JR, Guan HC, Sunahara RK, Seeman P, Niznik HB, Civelli O (April 1991). "Cloning of the gene for a human dopamine D4 receptor with high affinity for the antipsychotic clozapine". Nature 350 (6319): 610–4. doi:10.1038/350610a0. PMID 1840645. 
  2. ^ Neve KA, Seamans JK, Trantham-Davidson H (August 2004). "Dopamine receptor signaling". J. Recept. Signal Transduct. Res. 24 (3): 165–205. doi:10.1081/RRS-200029981. PMID 15521361. 
  3. ^ Catalano M, Nobile M, Novelli E, Nöthen MM, Smeraldi E (October 1993). "Distribution of a novel mutation in the first exon of the human dopamine D4 receptor gene in psychotic patients". Biol. Psychiatry 34 (7): 459–64. doi:10.1016/0006-3223(93)90236-7. PMID 8268330. 
  4. ^ Thapar A, Langley K, Owen MJ, O'Donovan MC (December 2007). "Advances in genetic findings on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder". Psychol Med 37 (12): 1681–92. doi:10.1017/S0033291707000773. PMID 17506925. 
  5. ^ Gene Overview of All Published Schizophrenia-Association Studies for DRD4 - SzGene database at Schizophrenia Research Forum.
  6. ^ Munafò MR, Yalcin B, Willis-Owen SA, Flint J (January 2008). "Association of the dopamine D4 receptor (DRD4) gene and approach-related personality traits: meta-analysis and new data". Biol. Psychiatry 63 (2): 197–206. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2007.04.006. PMID 17574217. 
  7. ^ a b Wang E, Ding YC, Flodman P, Kidd JR, Kidd KK, Grady DL, Ryder OA, Spence MA, Swanson JM, Moyzis RK (May 2004). "The genetic architecture of selection at the human dopamine receptor D4 (DRD4) gene locus". Am. J. Hum. Genet. 74 (5): 931–44. doi:10.1086/420854. PMID 15077199. 
  8. ^ Faraone SV, Doyle AE, Mick E, Biederman J (July 2001). "Meta-analysis of the association between the 7-repeat allele of the dopamine D(4) receptor gene and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder". American Journal of Psychiatry 158 (7): 1052–7. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.158.7.1052. PMID 11431226. 
  9. ^ Kaplan AS, Levitan RD, Yilmaz Z, Davis C, Tharmalingam S, Kennedy JL (January 2008). "A DRD4/BDNF gene-gene interaction associated with maximum BMI in women with bulimia nervosa". Int J Eat Disord 41 (1): 22-8. doi:10.1002/eat.20474. PMID 17922530. 
  10. ^ Asghari V, Sanyal S, Buchwaldt S, Paterson A, Jovanovic V, Van Tol HH (September 1995). "Modulation of intracellular cyclic AMP levels by different human dopamine D4 receptor variants". J Neurochem 65 (3): 1157–1165. doi:10.1046/j.1471-4159.1995.65031157.x (inactive 2008-06-23). PMID 7643093. 
  11. ^ Chen CS, Burton M, Greenberger E, Dmitrieva J (September 1999). "Population migration and the variation of dopamine D4 receptor (DRD4) allele frequencies around the globe". Evolution and Human Behavior 20 (5): 309–324. doi:10.1016/S1090-5138(99)00015-X. 
  12. ^ Eisenberg DT, Campbell B, Gray PB, Sorenson MD (2008). "Dopamine receptor genetic polymorphisms and body composition in undernourished pastoralists: an exploration of nutrition indices among nomadic and recently settled Ariaal men of northern Kenya". BMC Evol. Biol. 8: 173. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-8-173. PMID 18544160. 
  13. ^ Ebstein RP, Novick O, Umansky R, Priel B, Osher Y, Blaine D, Bennett ER, Nemanov L, Katz M, Belmaker RH (1996). "Dopamine D4 receptor (D4DR) exon III polymorphism associated with the human personality trait of Novelty Seeking". Nature Genetics 12 (1): 78–80. doi:10.1038/ng0196-78. PMID 8528256. 
  14. ^ Benjamin J, Li L, Patterson C, Greenberg BD, Murphy DL, Hamer DH (1996). "Population and familial association between the D4 dopamine receptor gene and measures of Novelty Seeking". Nature Genetics 12 (1): 81–4. doi:10.1038/ng0196-81. PMID 8528258. 
  15. ^ Schinka JA, Letsch EA, Crawford FC (August 2002). "DRD4 and novelty seeking: results of meta-analyses". Am. J. Med. Genet. 114 (6): 643–8. doi:10.1002/ajmg.10649. PMID 12210280. 
  16. ^ Chemel BR, Roth BL, Armbruster B, Watts VJ, Nichols DE (2006). "WAY-100635 is a potent dopamine D4 receptor agonist". Psychopharmacology (Berl.) 188 (2): 244–51. doi:10.1007/s00213-006-0490-4. PMID 16915381. 
  17. ^ Moreland RB, Patel M, Hsieh GC, Wetter JM, Marsh K, Brioni JD (2005). "A-412997 is a selective dopamine D4 receptor agonist in rats". Pharmacol. Biochem. Behav. 82 (1): 140–7. doi:10.1016/j.pbb.2005.08.001. PMID 16153699. 
  18. ^ Cowart M, Latshaw SP, Bhatia P, Daanen JF, Rohde J, Nelson SL, Patel M, Kolasa T, Nakane M, Uchic ME, Miller LN, Terranova MA, Chang R, Donnelly-Roberts DL, Namovic MT, Hollingsworth PR, Martino BR, Lynch JJ, Sullivan JP, Hsieh GC, Moreland RB, Brioni JD, Stewart AO (July 2004). "Discovery of 2-(4-pyridin-2-ylpiperazin-1-ylmethyl)-1H-benzimidazole (ABT-724), a dopaminergic agent with a novel mode of action for the potential treatment of erectile dysfunction". Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 47 (15): 3853–64. doi:10.1021/jm030505a. PMID 15239663. 
  19. ^ Patel MV, Kolasa T, Mortell K, et al. (December 2006). "Discovery of 3-methyl-N-(1-oxy-3',4',5',6'-tetrahydro-2'H-[2,4'-bipyridine]-1'-ylmethyl)benzamide (ABT-670), an orally bioavailable dopamine D4 agonist for the treatment of erectile dysfunction". J. Med. Chem. 49 (25): 7450–65. doi:10.1021/jm060662k. PMID 17149874. 
  20. ^ a b Hübner H, Kraxner J, Gmeiner P (2000). "Cyanoindole derivatives as highly selective dopamine D4 receptor partial agonists: solid-phase synthesis, binding assays, and functional experiments". J. Med. Chem. 43 (23): 4563–9. doi:10.1021/jm0009989. PMID 11087581. 
  21. ^ Kolasa T, Matulenko MA, Hakeem AA, et al. (August 2006). "1-aryl-3-(4-pyridine-2-ylpiperazin-1-yl)propan-1-one oximes as potent dopamine D4 receptor agonists for the treatment of erectile dysfunction". J. Med. Chem. 49 (17): 5093–109. doi:10.1021/jm060279f. PMID 16913699. 
  22. ^ Enguehard-Gueiffier C, Hübner H, El Hakmaoui A, et al. (June 2006). "2-[(4-phenylpiperazin-1-yl)methyl]imidazo(di)azines as selective D4-ligands. Induction of penile erection by 2-[4-(2-methoxyphenyl)piperazin-1-ylmethyl]imidazo[1,2-a]pyridine (PIP3EA), a potent and selective D4 partial agonist". J. Med. Chem. 49 (13): 3938–47. doi:10.1021/jm060166w. PMID 16789750. 
  23. ^ Nakane M, Cowart MD, Hsieh GC, et al. (July 2005). "2-[4-(3,4-Dimethylphenyl)piperazin-1-ylmethyl]-1H benzoimidazole (A-381393), a selective dopamine D4 receptor antagonist". Neuropharmacology 49 (1): 112–21. doi:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2005.02.004. PMID 15992586. 
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  28. ^ Millan MJ, Newman-Tancredi A, Brocco M, Gobert A, Lejeune F, Audinot V, Rivet JM, Schreiber R, Dekeyne A, Spedding M, Nicolas JP, Peglion JL (1 October 1998). " S 18126 ([2-[4-(2,3-dihydrobenzo[1,4]dioxin-6-yl)piperazin-1-yl methyl]indan-2-yl]), a potent, selective and competitive antagonist at dopamine D4 receptors: an in vitro and in vivo comparison with L 745,870 (3-(4-[4-chlorophenyl]piperazin-1-yl)methyl-1H-pyrrolo[2, 3b]pyridine) and raclopride". J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 287 (1): 167–86. PMID 9765336. 
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External links

This article incorporates text from the United States National Library of Medicine, which is in the public domain.


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