Stress disturbs body protein metabolism in mammals. In mice and humans, compromised well-being and muscle wasting are some of the reported detriments caused by stress. Therefore, the various management-related stressors including transport contribute to the inability of production animals, including cattle, to achieve their full genetic potential for growth and efficiency. Indirect evidence from previous research suggests that cellular protein metabolism is severely altered during the stress response, particularly in young animals.
However, our understanding of the actual changes that occur in the key organs like the liver and skeletal muscle remains limited. This information gap is critical, because it hampers our efforts to develop targeted intervention strategies to prevent or at least reduce the negative effects of the stress-related disturbances in protein metabolism. Therefore, this proposal will use the transport of young calves as a model to investigate how the cellular processes of protein synthesis and breakdown in the liver and skeletal tissue are impacted by stress. Expected outcomes are a peer reviewed publication (Journal of Animal Science), presentation at a major conference (American Society of Animal Science annual meeting), and preliminary data for use in applying for a USDA AFRI grant on improving production efficiency in cattle.