Regulation of Hyperpolarization-activated Cyclic Nucleotide-gated (HCN) Channel Activity by cCMP

The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2012, doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.357129, VOL. 287, NO. 32, pp. 26506–26512, published on 19.06.2012
The Journal of Biological Chemistry, online article
Activation of hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) channels is facilitated in vivo by direct binding of the second messenger cAMP. This process plays a fundamental role in the fine-tuning of HCN channel activity and is critical for the modulation of cardiac and neuronal rhythmicity. Here, we identify the pyrimidine cyclic nucleotide cCMP as another regulator of HCN channels. We demonstrate that cCMP shifts the activation curves of two members of the HCN channel family, HCN2 and HCN4, to more depolarized voltages. Moreover, cCMP speeds up activation and slows down deactivation kinetics of these channels. The two other members of the HCN channel family, HCN1 and HCN3, are not sensitive to cCMP. The modulatory effect of cCMP is reversible and requires the presence of a functional cyclic nucleotide-binding domain. We determined an EC50 value of ∼30 μm for cCMP compared with 1 μm for cAMP. Notably, cCMP is a partial agonist of HCN channels, displaying an efficacy of ∼0.6. cCMP increases the frequency of pacemaker potentials from isolated sinoatrial pacemaker cells in the presence of endogenous cAMP concentrations. Electrophysiological recordings indicated that this increase is caused by a depolarizing shift in the activation curve of the native HCN current, which in turn leads to an enhancement of the slope of the diastolic depolarization of sinoatrial node cells. In conclusion, our findings establish cCMP as a gating regulator of HCN channels and indicate that this cyclic nucleotide has to be considered in HCN channel-regulated processes.

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