D4 dopamine receptor (D4R) activation uniquely promotes methylation of plasma membrane phospholipids, utilizing folate-derived methyl groups provided by methionine synthase (MS). We evaluated the impact of D4R expression on folate-dependent phospholipid methylation (PLM) and MS activity, as well as cellular redox and methylation status, in transfected CHO cells expressing human D4R variants containing 2, 4, or 7 exon III repeats (D4.2R, D4.4R, D4.7R). Dopamine had no effect in non-transfected CHO cells, but increased PLM to a similar extent for both D4.2R- and D4.4R-expressing cells, while the maximal increase was for D4.7R was significantly lower. D4R expression in CHO cells decreased basal MS activity for all receptor subtypes and conferred dopamine-sensitive MS activity, which was greater with a higher number of repeats. Consistent with decreased MS activity, D4R expression decreased basal levels of methylation cycle intermediates methionine, S-adenosylmethionine (SAM), and S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH), as well as cysteine and glutathione (GSH). Conversely, dopamine stimulation increased GSH, SAM, and the SAM/SAH ratio, which was associated with a more than 2-fold increase in global DNA methylation. Our findings illustrate a profound influence of D4R expression and activation on MS activity, coupled with the ability of dopamine to modulate cellular redox and methylation status. These previously unrecognized signaling activities of the D4R provide a unique link between neurotransmission and metabolism.
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