Miller Lab alum Andreas Nieder and crew show how dopamine receptors in the prefrontal cortex regulate access to working memory and its protection from interference.

Jacob, Simon N., Maximilian Stalter, and Andreas Nieder. “Cell-type-specific modulation of targets and distractors by dopamine D1 receptors in primate prefrontal cortex.” Nature Communications (2016): 13218.

Ott and Nieder show that stimulating dopamine D2 receptors enhancing working memory related activity in the prefrontal cortex.

Ott, Torben, and Andreas Nieder. “Dopamine D2 Receptors Enhance Population Dynamics in Primate Prefrontal Working Memory Circuits.”Cerebral Cortex (2016).

Ranganath and Jacob walk us through the role that prefrontal cortex dopamine plays in cognition.

Ranganath, Ajit, and Simon N. Jacob. “Doping the Mind Dopaminergic Modulation of Prefrontal Cortical Cognition.” The Neuroscientist (2015): 1073858415602850.

Nice review of the mechanisms and role of dopamine receptors in the prefrontal cortex.

Arnsten, Amy FT, Min Wang, and Constantinos D. Paspalas. “Dopamine’s Actions in Primate Prefrontal Cortex: Challenges for Treating Cognitive Disorders.” Pharmacological Reviews 67.3 (2015): 681-696.

Ann Graybiel and crew show that the role of dopamine in reinforcement learning is not so straightforward.  Rather than just give short bursts tied to reward prediction errors, dopamine ramps up as rats near a goal.  It could reflect a motivational drive.

Miller Lab alumnus Andreas Nieder shows that dopamine (DA) has different effects on two different classes of neurons in the prefrontal cortex.  For neurons with a short latency visual response, DA suppressed activity but preserved their signal to noise ratio.  For neurons with a longer visual latency (exclusively broad-spiking, putative pyramidal neurons), DA increased excitability and enhanced signal/noise ratio.  Thus, DA can shape how the prefrontal cortex processes bottom-up sensory inputs.
Jacob et al

Soltani et al (2013) explored the role of D1 and D2 dopamine receptors in saccade target selection.  They find evidence that D1 receptors modulate the strength of inputs to the frontal eye fields and recurrent connectivity whereas D2 may modulate the output of the FEF. This may be because D1 seems to reduce LTP and LTD, which is consistent with  observations that D1 receptors contribute to associative learning (Puig and Miller, 2012).  Like Puig and Miller (2012), they also found  that D1 blockade increases response perseveration.

Further reading:
Puig, M.V. and Miller, E.K. (2012) The role of prefrontal dopamine D1 receptors in the neural mechanisms of associative learning. Neuron. 74: 874-886. View PDF »