Establishment of bovine mammary epithelial cells (MAC-T): an in vitro model for bovine lactation

Exp Cell Res. 1991 Dec;197(2):191-9. doi: 10.1016/0014-4827(91)90422-q.


The hallmark of differentiated mammary epithelial cells is a copious secretion of milk-specific components regulated by lactogenic hormones. We describe an established clonal cell line produced from primary bovine mammary alveolar cells (MAC-T) by stable transfection with SV-40 large T-antigen. MAC-T cells show a population doubling time of approximately 17 h and have been cultured more than 350 passages without showing any sign of senescence. They show the characteristic "cobblestone" morphology of epithelial cells when grown on plastic substratum. Differentiation was induced by augmenting cell-cell interaction on a floating collagen gel in the presence of prolactin. The differentiated phenotype was characterized to include (1) increased abundance in beta-casein mRNA, (2) increased number and size of indirect immunofluorescent casein secretory vesicles in each cell and (3) alpha s- and beta-casein protein secretion. The clonal nature of the cells, their immortality, and their ability to uniformly differentiate and secrete casein proteins make this cell line unique.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Polyomavirus Transforming / genetics
  • Antigens, Polyomavirus Transforming / isolation & purification
  • Caseins / biosynthesis*
  • Caseins / isolation & purification
  • Cattle
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Clone Cells
  • Culture Techniques / methods
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Epithelium / physiology
  • Female
  • Kinetics
  • Lactation*
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / cytology
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / physiology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Weight
  • Simian virus 40 / genetics
  • Temperature
  • Transfection


  • Antigens, Polyomavirus Transforming
  • Caseins