cAMP control of HCN2 channel Mg2+ block reveals loose coupling between the cyclic nucleotide-gating ring and the pore

PLoS One. 2014 Jul 1;9(7):e101236. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0101236. eCollection 2014.

Abstract

Hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-regulated HCN channels underlie the Na+-K+ permeable IH pacemaker current. As with other voltage-gated members of the 6-transmembrane KV channel superfamily, opening of HCN channels involves dilation of a helical bundle formed by the intracellular ends of S6 albeit this is promoted by inward, not outward, displacement of S4. Direct agonist binding to a ring of cyclic nucleotide-binding sites, one of which lies immediately distal to each S6 helix, imparts cAMP sensitivity to HCN channel opening. At depolarized potentials, HCN channels are further modulated by intracellular Mg2+ which blocks the open channel pore and blunts the inhibitory effect of outward K+ flux. Here, we show that cAMP binding to the gating ring enhances not only channel opening but also the kinetics of Mg2+ block. A combination of experimental and simulation studies demonstrates that agonist acceleration of block is mediated via acceleration of the blocking reaction itself rather than as a secondary consequence of the cAMP enhancement of channel opening. These results suggest that the activation status of the gating ring and the open state of the pore are not coupled in an obligate manner (as required by the often invoked Monod-Wyman-Changeux allosteric model) but couple more loosely (as envisioned in a modular model of protein activation). Importantly, the emergence of second messenger sensitivity of open channel rectification suggests that loose coupling may have an unexpected consequence: it may endow these erstwhile "slow" channels with an ability to exert voltage and ligand-modulated control over cellular excitability on the fastest of physiologically relevant time scales.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cyclic AMP / physiology*
  • Electrophysiological Phenomena
  • Hyperpolarization-Activated Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated Channels / metabolism*
  • Ion Channel Gating*
  • Kinetics
  • Oocytes / physiology
  • Xenopus

Substances

  • Hyperpolarization-Activated Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated Channels
  • Cyclic AMP

Grant support

This work was supported by the Department of Anesthesiology of Columbia University and Weill Cornell Medical College. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.