Electroporation was used to introduce foreign genes into cells derived from the mouse enamel organ epithelia (EOE). Optimal conditions for this electroporation were established. The introduction of a plasmid construct bearing the coding region for the large T-antigen from polyoma virus into EOE cells permitted the establishment of a derivative cell line that has the following characteristics: (1) the cells could be passaged many times; (2) they expressed a keratin-containing cytoskeleton; and (3) approx. 60% of the cells expressed amelogenin, a tissue-specific gene product unique to ameloblasts. Potential uses for such a cell line include analysis of: (1) the upstream regulatory regions required for temporally and spatially restricted expression of amelogenin; (2) the post-translational modification of amelogenin in synchronized cells and (3) the organization and biomineralization of enamel extracellular matrix in monolayer culture.