Many factors affect the final quality of meat including the following: genetic background (breed, genotype, sex), environmental conditions (feeding system, age, slaughter weight, animal welfare), and intracellular biological processes, which occur in the slaughtered animal. During the multi-step process of converting the muscle to meat, many structural and biochemical modifications occur in the muscle tissue, which make it possible to obtain specific taste qualities and physical-chemical parameters of the meat. In view of the technological suitability of meat and its fitness for human consumption, one of the most important quality parameters of meat is its tenderness and drip loss. Proteolysis of cytoskeletal proteins, inter alia, dystrophin, is one of the processes of key importance in shaping meat quality characteristics. Dystrophin is part of costameres and its function also relates to the dystrophin-associated glycoprotein (DAG) complex. The post mortem degradation of the discussed protein was examined in the muscles of cattle, pigs, and sheep. Model tests were also performed on mice. In the present paper, there are presented results according to which the rate of dystrophin degradation is probably associated with some physical-chemical parameters of meat such as tenderness (shear force) and drip loss. During storage of meat, the pH value decreases as does the native dystrophin level, which can likely contribute to the increased meat tenderness and the amount of drip loss. The amount of drip loss could be, particularly as regards the pork meat, an indicator of the fact that the drip loss is closer associated with the degradation of integrin and the formation of the so called drip channels. The effect of the post mortem degradation of dystrophin on the quality of meat requires further research, mainly at the molecular level.
dystrophin, cytoskeletal proteins, costameres, post mortem proteolysis, meat quality