Tandem mass tag labeling to characterize muscle-specific proteome changes in beef during early postmortem period

Chaoyu Zhai, Blanchefort A. Djimsa, Jessica E. Prenni, Dale R. Woerner, Keith E. Belk, Mahesh N. Nair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Previous research has indicated that variation in the proteome profile of longissimus lumborum (LL) and psoas major (PM) post-rigor influences meat quality attributes such as tenderness and color stability during retail display. Tandem mass tag (TMT) labeling is a chemical labeling approach using isobaric mass tags for accurate mass spectrometry-based quantification and identification of biological macromolecules. The objective of this study was to use TMT labeling to examine proteome profile variation between beef LL and PM during the early postmortem period (45 min, 12 h, and 36 h). We identified a total of 629 proteins, of which 71 were differentially abundant (fold change > 1.5, P < .05) from three comparisons between the muscles (PM vs. LL at 45 min, 12 h and 36 h). These proteins were mainly involved in oxidative phosphorylation and ATP-related transport, tricarboxylic acid cycle, NADPH regeneration, fatty acid degradation, muscle contraction, calcium signaling, chaperone activity, oxygen transport, as well as degradation of the extracellular matrix. At early postmortem, more abundant antiapoptotic proteins in LL could cause high metabolic stability, enhanced autophagy, and delayed apoptosis, while overabundant metabolic enzymes and pro-apoptotic proteins in PM could accelerate the generation of reactive oxygen species and initiation of cell death. Significance: Longissimus lumborum and psoas major are two highly valuable cuts in beef carcass exhibiting different quality attributes such as color and tenderness, partly due to their distinct muscle fiber proportion and metabolic property. We characterized the proteomic change of these two muscles at early postmortem using tandem mass tag labeling for the first time, which highlighted the potential relationships between metabolism, cell death, and color stability. Our work provides a new perspective on muscle-to-meat conversion, especially on the potential effect of muscle-specific cell death on meat color stability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103794
JournalJournal of Proteomics
StatePublished - Jun 30 2020


  • Cell death
  • Color stability
  • Muscle-specificity
  • Muscle-to-meat conversion
  • Postmortem metabolism
  • TMT


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