A2ARs (adenosine A2A receptors) are highly enriched in the striatum, which is the main motor control CNS (central nervous system) area. BRET (bioluminescence resonance energy transfer) assays showed that A2AR homomers may act as cell-surface ADA (adenosine deaminase; EC proteins. ADA binding affected the quaternary structure of A2ARs present on the cell surface. ADA binding to adenosine A2ARs increased both agonist and antagonist affinity on ligand binding to striatal membranes where these proteins are co-expressed. ADA also increased receptor-mediated ERK1/2 (extracellular-signal-regulated kinase 1/2) phosphorylation. Collectively, the results of the present study show that ADA, apart from regulating the concentration of extracellular adenosine, may behave as an allosteric modulator that markedly enhances ligand affinity and receptor function. This powerful regulation may have implications for the physiology and pharmacology of neuronal A2ARs.

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