Bovine Mammary Lactoferrin: Implications from Messenger Ribonucleic Acid (mRNA) Sequence and Regulation Contrary to Other Milk Proteins

F. L. Schanbacher, R. E. Goodman, R. S. Talhouk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

96 Scopus citations


The regulation of bovine mammary lactoferrin, an important component of the antimicrobial defenses of the mammary gland, is poorly understood compared with the other milk proteins. The complete sequence for bovine lactofemn mRNA shows it to be highly homologous to other lactoferrins and transferrins. However, regional differences in the deduced AA sequence of bovine lactoferrin compared with human lactoferrin and transferrin imply functional differences between them. Steady-state levels of bovine lactoferrin mRNA (by Northern blot) in the bovine mammary gland indicate that bovine lactoferrin expression is minimal in the developing and lactating gland but is strongly induced by mammary involution. The overall regulation of bovine lactoferrin in the mammary gland appears to be contrary to that of the other milk proteins. Features identified in the mRNA of bovine mammary lactoferrin may contribute to the differences in regulation between lactoferrin and other bovine milk proteins and to differences in concentrations of lactoferrin in milk across species. Lactoferrin secretion by bovine mammary cells grown in vitro does not appear to be dependent on prolactin and shows regulation by substratum, serum, and cell population to be different from that for casein. In contrast to casein, efficient secretion of lactoferrin from the cell does not require detachment of collagen substratum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3812-3831
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993



  • Mrna
  • bLf
  • bovine lactoferrin
  • human lactoferrin
  • lactoferrin
  • liLf
  • messenger ribonucleic acid
  • milk proteins
  • regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

Cite this