In this issue of the JCI, Wu et al. and Marin et al. describe two new mouse models of inherited disorders of the RAS/MAPK signal transduction pathway that display hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM); the model from the former paper was from a gain-of-function Raf1 mutation, and the model from the latter paper was from a protein tyrosine phosphatase, non-receptor type 11 (Ptpn11) mutated allele encoding Shp2 with impaired catalytic function. The two groups show that HCM arises from increased signaling through Erk1/2 and the mTor complex 1, respectively, and that those cardiac issues can be prevented or reversed with small-molecule therapies inhibiting the appropriate pathway. Aside from being the first studies of treatment for Noonan syndrome and related disorders in a mammalian system, these papers provide important insights into the role of RAS signaling in cardiac hypertrophy and suggest the complexity in developing meaningful therapy for individuals with these RASopathies.
Bruce D. Gelb, Marco Tartaglia