Proteomics is the approach of choice to study the fate of specific proteins, and it is very useful in identifying quality molecular markers. A combination of immunochemical and mass spectrometry analysis was used to assess the occurrence of proteolytic changes of actin and myosin heavy chain (MHC) proteins in pig biceps femoris skeletal muscle during processing of three Italian PDO dry-cured hams. Early post-mortem muscle displayed low levels of actin and myosin fragments. In spite of a high proteolysis index and the presence of active cathepsin D until the final ripening phase, during dry-cured ham processing, very low actin proteolysis and no generation of fragments from α-skeletal muscle isoform were found, while the identified fragments derived mainly from the cardiac actin isoform. On the other hand, MHC showed a remarkable degradation of its catalytic head, generating a C-terminal 135-kDa fragment. Based on its ability to interact with actin in vitro, this MHC fragment might have a role in stabilisation of actin. In conclusion, these results suggest that maintenance of skeletal muscle α-actin could reflect limited dismantling of the sarcomeric structure and be a useful marker to monitor the events that result in the typical texture of dry-cured ham.
Proteolytic resistance of actin but not of myosin heavy chain during processing of Italian PDO (protected designation of origin) dry-cured hams / Fabbro, Astrid; Bencivenni, Mariangela; Piasentier, Edi; Sforza, Stefano; Stecchini, Mara Lucia; Lippe, Giovanna. - In: EUROPEAN FOOD RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY. - ISSN 1438-2377. - 242:6(2016), pp. 881-889. [10.1007/s00217-015-2594-8]
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