A focus of the Devi laboratory is on exploring the molecular mechanisms and the functional implications of opioid receptor dimerization. Opioid receptors are G protein-coupled receptors that are activated by opiate drugs such as morphine and heroin. Recently, the lab discovered that opioid receptors associate with each other and with other members of the G protein-coupled receptor family. This leads to changes in the pharmacological and signaling properties of the receptors, including ligand affinity, potency, and receptor trafficking. Thus, receptor-receptor interactions represent a novel mechanism for modulating opioid receptor function. The Devi is currently investigating the physiological relevance of dimerization, as well as screening for drugs that target receptor heterodimers.