During the past 5 years there has been an increasing body of literature describing the roles cardiac myosin binding protein C (cMyBP-C) phosphorylation play in regulating cardiac function and heart failure. cMyBP-C is a sarcomeric thick filament protein that interacts with titin, myosin and actin to regulate sarcomeric assembly, structure and function. Elucidating the function of cMyBP-C is clinically important because mutations in this protein have been linked to cardiomyopathy in more than sixty million people worldwide. One function of cMyBP-C is to regulate cross-bridge formation through dynamic phosphorylation by protein kinase A, protein kinase C and Ca(2+)-calmodulin-activated kinase II, suggesting that cMyBP-C phosphorylation serves as a highly coordinated point of contractile regulation. Moreover, dephosphorylation of cMyBP-C, which accelerates its degradation, has been shown to associate with the development of heart failure in mouse models and in humans. Strikingly, cMyBP-C phosphorylation presents a potential target for therapeutic development as protection against ischemic-reperfusion injury, which has been demonstrated in mouse hearts. Also, emerging evidence suggests that cMyBP-C has the potential to be used as a biomarker for diagnosing myocardial infarction. Although many aspects of cMyBP-C phosphorylation and function remain poorly understood, cMyBP-C and its phosphorylation states have significant promise as a target for therapy and for providing a better understanding of the mechanics of heart function during health and disease. In this review we discuss the most recent findings with respect to cMyBP-C phosphorylation and function and determine potential future directions to better understand the functional role of cMyBP-C and phosphorylation in sarcomeric structure, myocardial contractility and cardioprotection. Copyright (c) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.