Functional Amyloid Signaling via the Inflammasome, Necrosome, and Signalosome: New Therapeutic Targets in Heart Failure

Traci L. Parry, Jason H. Melehani, Mark J. Ranek, Monte S. Willis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


As the most common cause of death and disability, globally, heart disease remains an incompletely understood enigma. A growing number of cardiac diseases are being characterized by the presence of misfolded proteins underlying their pathophysiology, including cardiac amyloidosis and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). At least nine precursor proteins have been implicated in the development of cardiac amyloidosis, most commonly caused by multiple myeloma light chain disease and disease-causing mutant or wildtype transthyretin (TTR). Similarly, aggregates with PSEN1 and COFILIN-2 have been identified in up to one-third of idiopathic DCM cases studied, indicating the potential predominance of misfolded proteins in heart failure. In this review, we present recent evidence linking misfolded proteins mechanistically with heart failure and present multiple lines of new therapeutic approaches that target the prevention of misfolded proteins in cardiac TTR amyloid disease. These include multiple small molecule pharmacological chaperones now in clinical trials designed specifically to support TTR folding by rational design, such as tafamidis, and chaperones previously developed for other purposes, such as doxycycline and tauroursodeoxycholic acid. Last, we present newly discovered non-pathological “functional” amyloid structures, such as the inflammasome and necrosome signaling complexes, which can be activated directly by amyloid. These may represent future targets to successfully attenuate amyloid-induced proteotoxicity in heart failure, as the inflammasome, for example, is being therapeutically inhibited experimentally in autoimmune disease. Together, these studies demonstrate multiple novel points in which new therapies may be used to primarily prevent misfolded proteins or to inhibit their downstream amyloid-mediated effectors, such as the inflammasome, to prevent proteotoxicity in heart failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number25
JournalFrontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine
StatePublished - May 19 2015


  • functional amyloid
  • inflammasome
  • necrosome
  • pharmacological chaperones
  • signalosome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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