l-lysine (Lys) is a critical dietary nutrient for mammary gland development and milk production. However, the specific pathways of Lys utilization and how milk protein synthesis is affected in bovine mammary epithelial cells (BMECs) are poorly understood. We aimed to investigate the effects of Lys on milk protein synthesis and the mechanism of Lys uptake and catabolism in BMECs. BMECs were cultured in 0, 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 5.0, and 10.0 mmol Lys/L to detect cell viability, or cultured in 0-2.0 mmol Lys/L with l-[ring-3H5] phenylalanine to study the effect of Lys on protein turnover, or cultured in Krebs buffer with [U-14C] l-Lys to quantify Lys metabolism. In some experiments, BMECs were cultured in a conditioned medium alone or including 1.0 mmol Lys/L and 2-amino-endo-bicyclo [2.2.1] heptane-2-carboxylic acid (BCH) for 24 h to analyze the expression of amino acid transporter B (0+) (ATB0,+), mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), and Janus kinase 2 (JAK2)-signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 (STAT5) pathways. Including 1.0 mmol Lys/L in cultures increased cell viability by 17-47% and protein synthesis by 7-23%, whereas protein degradation was inhibited by 4-64% compared with BMECs cultured with 0, 0.5, or 2.0 mmol Lys/L (all P ≤ 0.05). Studies that used [U-14C] l-Lys showed that most Lys was incorporated into proteins (90%), whereas the remainder was either oxidized into CO2 (4%) or used as a substrate for aspartate (3%) and histidine synthesis (3%). Furthermore, Lys significantly increased expression of ATB0,+ (71% mRNA and 44% protein), STAT5 (27% mRNA and 21% phosphorylated proteins), and mTOR (51% mRNA and 22% phosphorylated proteins) compared with cells without Lys. Lys promoted protein synthesis, mostly through enhancing uptake by ATB0,+ and the mTOR and JAK2-STAT5 pathways. Understanding the utilization of Lys in BMECs provides insights into the role of amino acid nutrition in bovine milk production.