Investigating cyclic nucleotide and cyclic dinucleotide binding to HCN channels by surface plasmon resonance

PLoS One. 2017 Sep 26;12(9):e0185359. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0185359. eCollection 2017.


Hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-modulated (HCN) channels control cardiac and neuronal rhythmicity. HCN channels contain cyclic nucleotide-binding domain (CNBD) in their C-terminal region linked to the pore-forming transmembrane segment with a C-linker. The C-linker couples the conformational changes caused by the direct binding of cyclic nucleotides to the HCN pore opening. Recently, cyclic dinucleotides were shown to antagonize the effect of cyclic nucleotides in HCN4 but not in HCN2 channels. Based on the structural analysis and mutational studies it has been proposed that cyclic dinucleotides affect HCN4 channels by binding to the C-linker pocket (CLP). Here, we first show that surface plasmon resonance (SPR) can be used to accurately measure cyclic nucleotide binding affinity to the C-linker/CNBD of HCN2 and HCN4 channels. We then used SPR to investigate cyclic dinucleotide binding in HCN channels. To our surprise, we detected no binding of cyclic dinucleotides to the isolated monomeric C-linker/CNBDs of HCN4 channels with SPR. The binding of cyclic dinucleotides was further examined with isothermal calorimetry (ITC), which indicated no binding of cyclic dinucleotides to both monomeric and tetrameric C-linker/CNBDs of HCN4 channels. Taken together, our results suggest that interaction of the C-linker/CNBD with other parts of the channel is necessary for cyclic-dinucleotide binding in HCN4 channels.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calorimetry
  • Cell Line
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism*
  • Cyclic GMP / metabolism*
  • Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated Cation Channels / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Protein Binding
  • Surface Plasmon Resonance


  • Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated Cation Channels
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Cyclic GMP