Ramspacher, C., Steed, E., Boselli, F., Ferreira, R., Faggianelli, N., Roth, S., Spiegelhalter, C., Messaddeq, N., Trinh, L., Liebling, M., Chacko, N., Tessadori, F., Bakkers, J., Laporte, J., Hnia, K., Vermot, J. (2015) Developmental Alterations in Heart Biomechanics and Skeletal Muscle Function in Desmin Mutants Suggest an Early Pathological Root for Desminopathies. Cell Reports. 11:1564-76.
Desminopathies belong to a family of muscle disorders called myofibrillar myopathies that are caused by Desmin mutations and lead to protein aggregates in muscle fibers. To date, the initial pathological steps of desminopathies and the impact of desmin aggregates in the genesis of the disease are unclear. Using live, high-resolution microscopy, we show that Desmin loss of function and Desmin aggregates promote skeletal muscle defects and alter heart biomechanics. In addition, we show that the calcium dynamics associated with heart contraction are impaired and are associated with sarcoplasmic reticulum dilatation as well as abnormal subcellular distribution of Ryanodine receptors. Our results demonstrate that desminopathies are associated with perturbed excitation-contraction coupling machinery and that aggregates are more detrimental than Desmin loss of function. Additionally, we show that pharmacological inhibition of aggregate formation and Desmin knockdown revert these phenotypes. Our data suggest alternative therapeutic approaches and further our understanding of the molecular determinants modulating Desmin aggregate formation.