Molecular insights into cardiomyopathies associated with desmin (DES) mutations
Increasing usage of next-generation sequencing techniques pushed during the last decade cardiogenetic diagnostics leading to the identification of a huge number of genetic variants in about 170 genes associated with cardiomyopathies, channelopathies, or syndromes with cardiac involvement. Because of the biochemical and cellular complexity, it is challenging to understand the clinical meaning or even the relevant pathomechanisms of the majority of genetic sequence variants. However, detailed knowledge about the associated molecular pathomechanism is essential for the development of efficient therapeutic strategies in future and genetic counseling. Mutations in DES, encoding the muscle-specific intermediate filament protein desmin, have been identified in different kinds of cardiac and skeletal myopathies. Here, we review the functions of desmin in health and disease with a focus on cardiomyopathies. In addition, we will summarize the genetic and clinical literature about DES mutations and will explain relevant cell and animal models. Moreover, we discuss upcoming perspectives and consequences of novel experimental approaches like genome editing technology, which might open a novel research field contributing to the development of efficient and mutation-specific treatment options.