J Am Chem Soc. 2023 Aug 16. doi: 10.1021/jacs.3c02735. Online ahead of print.
Dopamine D2-like receptors (D2R, D3R, and D4R) control diverse physiological and behavioral functions and are important targets for the treatment of a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders. Their complex distribution and activation kinetics in the brain make it difficult to target specific receptor populations with sufficient precision. We describe a new toolkit of light-activatable, fast-relaxing, covalently taggable chemical photoswitches that fully activate, partially activate, or block D2-like receptors. This technology combines the spatiotemporal precision of a photoswitchable ligand (P) with cell type and spatial specificity of a genetically encoded membrane anchoring protein (M) to which the P tethers. These tools set the stage for targeting endogenous D2-like receptor signaling with molecular, cellular, and spatiotemporal precision using only one wavelength of light.