Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Two genes have been identified for the X-linked forms (dystrophin and tafazzin), whereas three other genes (actin, lamin A/C, and desmin) cause autosomal dominant DCM; seven other loci for autosomal dominant DCM have been mapped but the genes have not been identified. Hypothesizing that DCM is a disease of the cytoskeleton and sarcolemma, we have focused on candidate genes whose products are found in these structures. Here we report the screening of the human δ-sarcoglycan gene, a member of the dystrophin-associated protein complex, by single-stranded DNA conformation polymorphism analysis and by DNA sequencing in patients with DCM. Mutations affecting the secondary structure were identified in one family and two sporadic cases, whereas immunofluorescence analysis of myocardium from one of these patients demonstrated significant reduction in δ-sarcoglycan staining. No skeletal muscle disease occurred in any of these patients. These data suggest that δ-sarcoglycan is a disease-causing gene responsible for familial and idiopathic DCM and lend support to our “final common pathway” hypothesis that DCM is a cytoskeletalopathy.
Shinichi Tsubata, Karla R. Bowles, Matteo Vatta, Carmelann Zintz, Jack Titus, Linda Muhonen, Neil E. Bowles, Jeffrey A. Towbin