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Biochemistry. 1996 Apr 2;35(13):3994-4001.

Altered ligand specificity by protonation in the ligand binding domain of cyclic nucleotide-gated channels.

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Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Washington, Seattle, 98195-7290, USA.


Cyclic nucleotide-gated (CNG) ion channels are the critical mediators between the second messengers of sensory transduction and the cell's membrane potential. The photoreceptor CNG channels are activated by the direct binding of cGMP but can also be activated to a much lesser extent by cAMP. In rod CNG channels expressed in Xenopus oocytes, we demonstrate two types of potentiation by protons. One type potentiated cGMP-bound and cAMP-bound channels to the same extent, while another potentiated only cAMP-bound channels. Both types of potentiation could be described by a mechanism in which protons bound primarily to the channel open configuration. The potentiation specific to cAMP-bound channels could be accounted for by protonation of aspartic acid 604 (D604). It is the unfavorable electrostatic interaction between the carboxylate of D604 and the purine ring of cAMP that accounts for the normally poor activation of the channels by cAMP. Protonation at this site removed the unfavorable interaction and allowed cAMP to act as nearly a full agonist. Protonation of a second amino acid, H468, contributed to the nucleotide-nonspecific potentiation and is likely to be an element of the channel gating assembly. Protons potentiate native rod channels less than channels formed from subunit 1. In heteromultimeric channels formed by coexpressing subunit 1 with subunit 2, we found a similar attenuation of potentiation. The absence of protonatable amino acids in subunit 2 at positions corresponding to H468 and D604 can explain the reduced effects of pH on native channels.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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