The cardiomyopathy of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in affected males with this dreaded muscle disease. Previous studies have implicated changes in expression and subcellular localization of connexin-43 (Cx43), the major ventricular gap junction protein, in DMD cardiomyopathy. In this issue of the JCI, Himelman et al. explore how hypophosphorylation of Cx43 at a triplet of serine residues (S325/S328/S330) in the regulatory C-terminus contributes to multiple features of the cardiomyopathy phenotype. Using a mouse model of DMD cardiomyopathy in which phosphomimetic glutamic acids are substituted for serines at these residues in Cx43, Himelman et al. observed reduced gap junction remodeling and lateralization of Cx43 immunosignals, protection against isoproterenol-induced arrhythmias, and improved Ca2+ homeostasis. This study contributes to the understanding of pathologic Cx43 remodeling and encourages further research into developing strategic interventions to mitigate cardiac dysfunction and arrhythmias in DMD patients.
Robin M. Shaw, Jeffrey E. Saffitz