HCN1 channels in cerebellar Purkinje cells promote late stages of learning and constrain synaptic inhibition

J Physiol. 2013 Nov 15;591(22):5691-709. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2013.259499. Epub 2013 Sep 2.


Neural computations rely on ion channels that modify neuronal responses to synaptic inputs. While single cell recordings suggest diverse and neurone type-specific computational functions for HCN1 channels, their behavioural roles in any single neurone type are not clear. Using a battery of behavioural assays, including analysis of motor learning in vestibulo-ocular reflex and rotarod tests, we find that deletion of HCN1 channels from cerebellar Purkinje cells selectively impairs late stages of motor learning. Because deletion of HCN1 modifies only a subset of behaviours involving Purkinje cells, we asked whether the channel also has functional specificity at a cellular level. We find that HCN1 channels in cerebellar Purkinje cells reduce the duration of inhibitory synaptic responses but, in the absence of membrane hyperpolarization, do not affect responses to excitatory inputs. Our results indicate that manipulation of subthreshold computation in a single neurone type causes specific modifications to behaviour.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Cerebellum / metabolism
  • Cerebellum / physiology*
  • Hyperpolarization-Activated Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated Channels / metabolism*
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Potassium Channels / metabolism*
  • Purkinje Cells / metabolism
  • Purkinje Cells / physiology*
  • Reflex, Vestibulo-Ocular / physiology
  • Synapses / metabolism*


  • Hcn1 protein, mouse
  • Hyperpolarization-Activated Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated Channels
  • Potassium Channels