Longissimus thoracis (LD) samples from 500 cattle were screened for protein expression differences relative to carcass quality grade. The LD of the top 5% (low prime and high choice, HQ) and bottom 5% (low select, LQ) carcasses were analyzed using two-dimensional difference gel electrophoresis and Western blot. Following initial screening, 11 candidate proteins were selected for Western blot analyses. Differentially expressed proteins were clustered into four groups: (1) heat shock proteins and oxidative protection, (2) sarcomeric proteins (muscle maturity and fiber type), (3) metabolism and energetics, and (4) miscellaneous proteins. Proteins from groups 1 and 2 were greater in HQ carcasses. Alternatively, increased quantities of proteins from group 3 were observed in LQ carcasses. Proteomic differences provide insights into pathways contributing to carcass quality grade. A deeper understanding of the physiological pathways involved in carcass quality grade development may allow producers to employ production practices that improve quality grade.
Keywords: bovine; carcass quality grade; heat shock proteins; proteolysis; proteome.