Meat science

Preliminary study on the effect of caspase-6 and calpain inhibitors on postmortem proteolysis of myofibrillar proteins in chicken breast muscle.

PMID 22098823


The objective was to determine the effect of three different protease inhibitors, caspase-6 specific inhibitor VEID-CHO (N-Acetyl-Val-Glu-Ile-Asp-al), calpain inhibitor leupeptin or calpain inhibitor EGTA on protein degradation, ultrastructure of myofibrils and calpain activity during postmortem (PM) aging of chicken muscle. Results showed that proteolysis of nebulin, troponin-T and desmin during 14-days postmortem storage were inhibited significantly by leupeptin. Inhibitive effects of VEID-CHO and EGTA on these protein degradations were significant only during 1-day postmortem storage. The activities of calpains were inhibited noticeably by leupeptin and EGTA, but not by VEID-CHO. Samples treated with VEID-CHO, leupeptin and EGTA retarded structural disruption of chicken muscle fibers. These results demonstrate that calpain is a major contributor to PM tenderization; while caspase-6 plays, if any, a minimal role in the conversion of chicken muscle to meat.