Mutations in genes encoding the nuclear envelope proteins emerin and lamin A/C lead to a range of tissue-specific degenerative diseases. These include dilated cardiomyopathy, limb-girdle muscular dystrophy and X-linked and autosomal dominant EDMD (Emery–Dreifuss muscular dystrophy). The molecular mechanisms underlying these disorders are poorly understood; however, recent work using animal models has identified a number of signalling pathways that are altered in response to the deletion of either emerin or lamin A/C or expression of Lmna mutants found in patients with laminopathies. A distinguishing feature of patients with EDMD is the association of a dilated cardiomyopathy with conduction defects. In the present article, we describe several of the pathways altered in response to an EDMD phenotype, which are known to be key mediators of hypertrophic growth, and focus on a possible role of an emerin–β-catenin interaction in the pathogenesis of this disease.

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