Biochemical investigations into the absence of rigor mortis in the Norway lobster Nephrops norvegicus

Gornik, S.G., Albalat, A., Atkinson, R.J.A. and Neil, D.M. (2009) Biochemical investigations into the absence of rigor mortis in the Norway lobster Nephrops norvegicus. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 373(1), pp. 58-65. (doi: 10.1016/j.jembe.2009.03.004)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jembe.2009.03.004

Abstract

It was found that the striated muscle of the Norway lobster (<i>Nephrops norvegicus</i>) does not exhibit the <i>rigor mortis</i> state otherwise typical for this type of muscle. This absence of <i>rigor</i> was investigated, concentrating on changes in the structure, ultrastructure and post-mortem biochemistry of the muscle. Samples were initially fixed for light and electron microscopy at the time of death and at different times post-mortem (3, 6,12 and 24 h). Protein extracts were obtained in parallel to compare the banding patterns of the myofibrillar proteins using SDS-PAGE. A Western blot was applied to elucidate if myosin - a representative major myofibrillar protein - was degraded post-mortem. And finally, ATP levels in the muscle were analyzed using HPLC. Using TEM imaging it was found that between 12 and 24 h post-mortem at a storage temperature of 10°C, when <i>rigor mortis</i> should set in (according to the muscular ATP concentrations), an extensive, but rather specific breakdown of myofibrillar proteins occurred. The Z-disks were degraded and the myofibrillar structure was lost. SDS-PAGE and Western blot clearly demonstrated the post-mortem breakdown of myosin. The nature of the observed protein breakdown seems to impede <i>rigor mortis</i> in some way by the activation of at least one of the several proteolytic systems (cathepsins, calpains and others) found in vertebrates and invertebrates. It is speculated that the proteolysis simply overtakes the <i>rigor</i>-inducing post-mortem changes.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:ATP breakdown, Myosin breakdown, <i>Nephrops norvegicus</i>, Post-mortem biochemistry, Proteolysis, <i>Rigor mortis<i>
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Neil, Professor Douglas and Albalat, Dr Amaya
Authors: Gornik, S.G., Albalat, A., Atkinson, R.J.A., and Neil, D.M.
Subjects:Q Science > QL Zoology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH345 Biochemistry
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
ISSN:0022-0981

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