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Background: Pre-slaughter stress (PSS) impairs animal welfare and meat quality. Dark, firm and dry (DFD) are terms used to designate poor quality meats induced by PSS. Protein phosphorylation can be a potentially significant mechanism to explain rapid and multiple physiological and biochemical changes linked to PSS-dependent muscle-to-meat conversion. However, the role of reversible phosphorylation in the response to PSS is still little known. In this study, we report a comparative phosphoproteomic analysis of DFD and normal meats at 24 h post-mortem from the longissimus thoracis (LT) bovine muscle of male calves of the Rubia Gallega breed. For this purpose, two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-DE), in-gel multiplex identification of phosphoproteins with PRO-Q Diamond phosphoprotein-specific stain, tandem (MALDI-TOF/TOF) mass spectrometry (MS), novel quantitative phosphoproteomic statistics and bioinformatic tools were used. Results: Noticeable and statistically significant differences in the extent of protein phosphorylation were detected between sample groups at the qualitative and quantitative levels. Overall phosphorylation rates across significantly changed phosphoproteins were about three times higher in DFD than in normal meat. Significantly changed phosphoproteins involved a variable number of isoforms of 13 myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic nonredundant proteins. However, fast skeletal myosin light chain 2 followed by troponin T, F-actin-capping and small heat shock proteins showed the greatest phosphorylation change, and therefore they were the most important phosphoproteins underlying LT muscle conversion to DFD meat in the Rubia Gallega breed. Conclusions: This is the first study reporting global meat phosphoproteome changes in response to PSS. The results show that reversible phosphorylation is a relevant mechanism underlying PSS response and downstream effects on meat quality. This research opens up novel horizons to unravel the complex molecular puzzle underlying muscle-to-meat conversion in response to PSS.
Mato, A., Rodríguez-Vázquez, R., López-Pedrouso, M., Bravo, S., Franco, D., & Zapata, C. (2019). The first evidence of global meat phosphoproteome changes in response to pre-slaughter stress. BMC Genomics, 20(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12864-019-5943-3