Mastitis causes a decrease in milk yield and abnormalities in milk components from dairy cows. Escherichia coli and the E. coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS) cell wall component directly downregulate milk production in bovine mammary epithelial cells (BMECs). However, the detailed mechanism by which this occurs in BMECs remains unclear. Various membrane proteins, such as immune sensors (Toll-like receptors, TLR), nutrient transporters (glucose transporter and aquaporin), and tight junction proteins (claudin and occludin) are involved in the onset of mastitis or milk production in BMECs. In this study, we investigated the influence of LPS on membrane proteins using an in vitro culture model. This mastitis model demonstrated a loss of glucose transporter-1 and aquaporin-3 at lateral membranes and a decrease in milk production in response to LPS treatment. LPS disrupted the tight junction barrier and caused compositional changes in localization of claudin-3 and claudin-4, although tight junctions were maintained to separate the apical membrane domains and the basolateral membrane domains. LPS did not significantly affect the expression level and subcellular localization of epidermal growth factor receptor in lactating BMECs with no detectable changes in MEK1/2-ERK1/2 signaling. In contrast, NFκB was concurrently activated with temporal translocation of TLR-4 in the apical membranes, whereas TLR-2 was not significantly influenced by LPS treatment. These findings indicate the importance of investigating the subcellular localization of membrane proteins to understand the molecular mechanism of LPS in milk production in mastitis.
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