HCN1 Channels Significantly Shape Retinal Photoresponses

  • Naoyuki TanimotoEmail author
  • Arne Brombas
  • Frank Müller
  • Mathias W. Seeliger
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 723)


Hyperpolarization-activated and cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) channels are encoded by four genes (HCN1-4) and are widely expressed in the central and peripheral nervous system and in cardiac tissues. All types of HCN channels are also expressed in the retina. Due to their rapid activation, HCN1 channels, which are expressed most abundantly in the inner segments of the photoreceptors, are particularly well suited to modulate retinal responses to flashed light or background light. In vivo functional analysis of HCN1 knockout mice using electroretinography has shown that HCN1 channels shorten retinal light responses under scotopic conditions and thus play an important role for the responsiveness to high-frequency repetitive stimuli. This chapter summarizes the functional phenotype of HCN1 knockout mice.


Photoreceptors HCN1 channels Electroretinography Knockout mice Retinal signal processing Flicker ERG 



We thank Dr. Eric Kandel (Columbia University, USA) for providing the HCN1 knockout line. This work was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, grants Se837/5-2, and 6-1) to M.W.S., the Kerstan Foundation to N.T., and the European Union (grant LSHG-CT-2005-512036) to A.B. and F.M.


  1. Demontis GC, Longoni B, Barcaro U et al (1999) Properties and functional roles of hyperpolarization-gated currents in guinea-pig retinal rods. J Physiol 515:813–828PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Fain GL, Quandt FN, Bastian BL et al (1978) Contribution of a caesium-sensitive conductance increase to the rod photoresponse. Nature 272:467–469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Knop GC, Seeliger MW, Thiel F et al (2008) Light responses in the mouse retina are prolonged upon targeted deletion of the HCN1 channel gene. Eur J Neurosci 28:2221–2230PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Moosmang S, Stieber J, Zong X et al (2001) Cellular expression and functional characterization of four hyperpolarization-activated pacemaker channels in cardiac and neuronal tissues. Eur J Biochem 268:1646–1652PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Müller F, Scholten A, Ivanova E et al (2003) HCN channels are expressed differentially in retinal bipolar cells and concentrated at synaptic terminals. Eur J Neurosci 17:2084–2096PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Nolan MF, Malleret G, Lee KH et al (2003) The hyperpolarization-activated HCN1 channel is important for motor learning and neuronal integration by cerebellar Purkinje cells. Cell 115:551–564PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Seeliger MW, Grimm C, Ståhlberg F et al (2001) New views on RPE65 deficiency: the rod system is the source of vision in a mouse model of Leber congenital amaurosis. Nat Genet 29:70–74PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Tanimoto N, Muehlfriedel RL, Fischer MD et al (2009) Vision tests in the mouse: functional phenotyping with electroretinography. Front Biosci 14:2730–2737PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Naoyuki Tanimoto
    • 1
    Email author
  • Arne Brombas
    • 2
  • Frank Müller
    • 2
  • Mathias W. Seeliger
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Ocular Neurodegeneration, Centre for Ophthalmology, Institute for Ophthalmic ResearchUniversity of TübingenTübingenGermany
  2. 2.Institut für Strukturbiologie und Biophysik (ISB-1)Forschungszentrum JülichJülichGermany

Personalised recommendations