Intermediate filaments in cardiomyopathy
Intermediate filament (IF) proteins are critical regulators in health and disease. The discovery of hundreds of mutations in IF genes and posttranslational modifications has been linked to a plethora of human diseases, including, among others, cardiomyopathies, muscular dystrophies, progeria, blistering diseases of the epidermis, and neurodegenerative diseases. The major IF proteins that have been linked to cardiomyopathies and heart failure are the muscle-specific cytoskeletal IF protein desmin and the nuclear IF protein lamin, as a subgroup of the known desminopathies and laminopathies, respectively. The studies so far, both with healthy and diseased heart, have demonstrated the importance of these IF protein networks in intracellular and intercellular integration of structure and function, mechanotransduction and gene activation, cardiomyocyte differentiation and survival, mitochondrial homeostasis, and regulation of metabolism. The high coordination of all these processes is obviously of great importance for the maintenance of proper, life-lasting, and continuous contraction of this highly organized cardiac striated muscle and consequently a healthy heart. In this review, we will cover most known information on the role of IFs in the above processes and how their deficiency or disruption leads to cardiomyopathy and heart failure.