Identification of the Molecular Site of Ivabradine Binding to HCN4 Channels

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Identification of the Molecular Site of Ivabradine Binding to HCN4 Channels

Public Library of Science
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0053132
  • Computer Science
  • Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Medicine
  • Heart Failure
  • Cardiovascular
  • Angina
  • Electrophysiology
  • Proteins
  • Computer Modeling
  • Research Article
  • Ion Channels
  • Arrhythmias
  • Drugs And Devices
  • Anatomy And Physiology
  • Drug Research And Development
  • Cardiovascular Pharmacology
  • Theoretical Pharmacology


Ivabradine is a specific heart rate-reducing agent approved as a treatment of chronic stable angina. Its mode of action involves a selective and specific block of HCN channels, the molecular components of sinoatrial "funny" (f)-channels. Different studies suggest that the binding site of ivabradine is located in the inner vestibule of HCN channels, but the molecular details of ivabradine binding are unknown. We thus sought to investigate by mutagenesis and in silico analysis which residues of the HCN4 channel, the HCN isoform expressed in the sinoatrial node, are involved in the binding of ivabradine. Using homology modeling, we verified the presence of an inner cavity below the channel pore and identified residues lining the cavity; these residues were replaced with alanine (or valine) either alone or in combination, and WT and mutant channels were expressed in HEK293 cells. Comparison of the block efficiency of mutant vs WT channels, measured by patch-clamp, revealed that residues Y506, F509 and I510 are involved in ivabradine binding. For each mutant channel, docking simulations correctly explain the reduced block efficiency in terms of proportionally reduced affinity for ivabradine binding. In summary our study shows that ivabradine occupies a cavity below the channel pore, and identifies specific residues facing this cavity that interact and stabilize the ivabradine molecule. This study provides an interpretation of known properties of f/HCN4 channel block by ivabradine such as the “open channel block”, the current-dependence of block and the property of "trapping" of drug molecules in the closed configuration.

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