Cyclic nucleotide-gated channels (CNGCs) are important transducers of external signals in sensory processes. These channels are ubiquitously expressed in a variety of neurons, and are necessary to transduce signals for growth cone guidance and plasticity. Here, we demonstrate that the CNGC subunits (CNGA1 and CNGB1, presumably the 1b isoform) are expressed in rat cerebellar granule cells and that they combine to form functional channels. The expression of the mRNAs that encode these proteins is maximal after 7 days in cell culture, when the channels are expressed at synapses and co-localize with the synaptic marker synapsin I. These ligand-gated channels are functional and can be blocked by Mg2+ or L-cis-diltiazem. Moreover, channel opening in response to increases in intracellular cGMP results in Ca2+ entry into the cell. Chronic blockade (96 h) of these channels with L-cis-diltiazem significantly decreases the number of functional boutons, as determined by their capacity to load and unload the styryl dye FM1-43 when stimulated. Moreover, the unloading kinetics is modified from a biphasic to a monophasic profile in a subset of synaptic boutons. These channels are also expressed in early developmental stages, both in the soma and in emerging processes, and CNGA1 can be detected in growth cones. Pharmacological blockade of these channels with L-cis-diltiazem causes an overall change in growth cone morphology, impairing the formation of lamellipodia between filopodia and increasing the number of filopodia. J. Cell. Physiol. 227: 2252–2263, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.