Myofibrillar myopathy (MFM) is a group of inherited muscular disorders characterized by myofibril dissolution and abnormal accumulation of degradation products. The diagnosis of muscular disorders based on clinical presentation is difficult due to phenotypic heterogeneity and overlapping symptoms. In addition, precise diagnosis does not always explain the disease etiopathology or the highly variable clinical course even among patients diagnosed with the same type of myopathy. The advent of high-throughput next-generation sequencing (NGS) has provided a successful and cost-effective strategy for identification of novel causative genes in myopathies, including MFM. So far, pathogenic mutations associated with MFM phenotype, including atypical MFM-like cases, have been identified in 17 genes: DES, CRYAB, MYOT, ZASP, FLNC, BAG3, FHL1, TTN, DNAJB6, PLEC, LMNA, ACTA1, HSPB8, KY, PYROXD1, and SQSTM + TIA1 (digenic). Most of these genes are also associated with other forms of muscle diseases. In addition, in many MFM patients, numerous genomic variants in muscle-related genes have been identified. The various myopathies and muscular dystrophies seem to form a single disease continuum; therefore, gene identification in one disease impacts the genetic etiology of the others. In this review, we describe the heterogeneity of the MFM genetic background focusing on the role of rare variants, the importance of whole genome sequencing in the identification of novel disease-associated mutations, and the emerging concept of variant load as the basis of the phenotypic heterogeneity.
Keywords: Epistatic effect; Exome; Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy; Mutation burden; Myofibrillar myopathies; Oligogenic.