Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science

Field of Study

Biomedical Sciences


Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

First Advisor

Rebecca L. Cunningham

Second Advisor

Riyaz Basha

Third Advisor

Michael Salvatore


Testosterone can increase calcium influx and cell death in dopamine neurons via a putative membrane androgen receptor (mAR). The mAR induced calcium increase may be due to activation of G-proteins involved in calcium mobilization. Previous studies using an N-terminal targeted androgen receptor (AR) antibody yielded low AR expression in dopamine neurons. Studies in our lab show high AR expression using a C-terminal targeted AR antibody. This difference in expression may be due to an AR variant.

We hypothesize an AR variant is present in the membrane of dopaminergic neurons and associated with G proteins.

To identify the presence of AR in dopaminergic neurons. We performed immunoblot, sucrose gradient, and immunohistochemistry studies. To determine the protein-protein interaction between mAR and G-proteins we performed co-immunoprecipitation studies.

Our results show AR45 localizes in the membrane lipid rafts of dopaminergic neurons. Furthermore, AR45 interacts with Gαq and Gαo G-proteins, which can impact calcium signaling.


Contreras, Jo Garza, Novel Androgen Receptor Splice Variant in the Substantia Nigra. Master of Science (Biomedical Sciences), June, 2017, 72 pp., 2 tables, 9 figures, references, 200 titles. Available worldwide August 2018.