Systems Biology: A New Tool for Farm Animal Science
Kristin Hollung, Anna M. Timperio, Mamen Olivan, Caroline Kemp, Ana Coto-Montes, Veronica Sierra and Lello Zolla
Affiliation: Largo dell'Universita snc 01100 Viterbo Italy.
Keywords: Apoptosis, autophagy, farm animal, meat quality, system biology.
It is rapidly emerging that the tender meat phenotype is affected by an enormous amount of variables, not only
tied to genetics (livestock breeding selection), but also to extrinsic factors, such as feeding conditions, physical activity,
rearing environment, administration of hormonal growth promotants, pre-slaughter handling and stress. Proteomics has
been widely accepted by meat scientists over the last years and is now commonly used to shed light on the postmortem
processes involved in meat tenderization. This review discusses the latest findings with the use of proteomics and systems
biology to study the different biochemical pathways postmortem aiming at understanding the concerted action of different
molecular mechanisms responsible for meat quality. The conversion of muscle to meat postmortem can be described as a
sequence of events involving molecular pathways controlled by a complex interplay of many factors. Among the different
pathways emerging are the influence of apoptosis and lately also the role of autophagy in muscle postmortem development.
This review thus, focus on how systems-wide integrated investigations (metabolomics, transcriptomics, interactomics,
phosphoproteomics, mathematical modeling), which have emerged as complementary tools to proteomics, have
helped establishing a few milestones in our understanding of the events leading from muscle to meat conver
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