Molecular analysis of tammar (Macropus eugenii) mammary epithelial cells stimulated with lipopolysaccharide and lipoteichoic acid

Kerry A. Daly, Sonia L. Mailer, Matthew R. Digby, Christophe Lefévre, Peter Thomson, Elizabeth Deane, Kevin R. Nicholas, Peter Williamson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The immunological function of the metatherian mammary gland plays a crucial part in neonatal survival of the marsupial young. Marsupial pouch young do not develop adult like immune responses until just prior to leaving the pouch. The immune components of the maternal milk secretions are important during this vulnerable early post-partum period. In addition, infection of the mammary gland has not been recognized in metatherians, despite the ready availability of pathogens in the pouch. Regardless of which, little is known about the immunobiology of the mammary gland and the immune responses of mammary epithelial cells in metatherians. In this study, a molecular approach was utilized to examine the response of tammar (Macropus eugenii) mammary epithelial cells to Escherichia coli derived lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and Staphylococcus aureus derived lipoteichoic acid (LTA). Using custom-made cDNA microarrays, candidate genes were identified in the transciptome, which were involved in antigen presentation, inflammation, cell growth and proliferation, cellular damage and apoptosis. Quantification of mRNA expression of several of these candidate genes, along with seven other genes (TLR4, CD14, TNF-α, cathelicidin, PRDX1, IL-5 and ABCG2) associated with innate immunity in LPS and LTA challenged mammary epithelial cells and leukocytes, was assessed for up to 24 h. Differences in genes associated with cellular damage and pro-inflammatory cytokine production were seen between stimulated mammary epithelial cells and leukocytes. LTA challenge tended to result in lower level induction of pro-inflammatory cytokines, increased PRDX1 mRNA levels, suggesting increased oxidative stress, and increased CD14 expression, but in a non-TLR4-dependent manner. The use of functional genomic tools in the tammar identified differences in the response of tammar mammary epithelial cells (MEC) and leukocytes to challenge with LPS and LTA, and validates the utility of the approach. The results of this study are consistent with a model in which tammar mammary epithelial cells have the capacity to elicit a complex and robust immune response to pathogens. Crown

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-48
Number of pages13
JournalVeterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2009


  • Lipopolysaccharide
  • Lipoteichoic acid
  • Marsupial
  • Primary Mammary cells


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