With the advent of technologies to obtain the complete sequence of the human genome in a cost-effective manner, this decade and those to come will see an exponential increase in our understanding of the underlying genetics that lead to human disease. And where we have a deep understanding of the biochemical and biophysical basis of the machineries and pathways involved in those genetic changes, there are great hopes for the development of modern therapeutics that specifically target the actual machinery and pathways altered by individual mutations. Prime examples of such a genetic disease are those classes of hypertrophic and dilated cardiomyopathy that result from single amino-acid substitutions in one of several of the proteins that make up the cardiac sarcomere or from the truncation of myosin binding protein C. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy alone affects ∼1 in 500 individuals, and it is the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young adults. Here I describe approaches to understand the molecular basis of the alterations in power output that result from these mutations. Small molecules binding to the mutant sarcomeric protein complex should be able to mitigate the effects of hypertrophic and dilated cardiomyopathy mutations at their sources, leading to possible new therapeutic approaches for these genetic diseases.
Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.