Skeletal muscles of farm animals are converted to meat. The living muscle volume and property have direct impact on yield and quality of meat. Besides, conditions of postmortem aging of the muscles alter subsequent meat quality. In both processes of living muscle development and the postmortem aging, a variety of gene expression products such as RNAs, proteins, and metabolites play essential roles in molecular biological events that finally lead to edible meat in an orchestrated manner. Muscle cells with different composition of those biochemical components make up their distinct physiological properties and meat qualities, as observed in differences between fast-glycolytic and slow-oxidative muscle fibers. Therefore, to understand the biological events in developing muscle and aging meat give us keys to improve meat production in both aspects of amount and quality.
The research objective of this unit is to elucidate regulatory mechanisms of muscle development and postmortem meat aging of farm animals, using transcriptomic and metabolomic technologies as well as biochemical and cell biological techniques. Our recent research topics are as follows:
- Physiological meanings of microRNAs in skeletal muscle development and circulation
- Characterization of skeletal muscle fiber types
- Myofibrillogenesis during muscle development
- Functions of calpain in skeletal muscles