We have demonstrated that a human endometrial cell line, HEC-1, maintains a high transepithelial electrical resistance, directionally transports fluids across the cell monolayer, and releases enveloped viruses at distinct plasma membrane domains: influenza virus is released at the apical surfaces and vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) at the basolateral surfaces. In addition, we have examined the expression of domain-specific endogenous proteins, including the polyimmunoglobulin receptor. Multiple endogenous polypeptides were found to be secreted into the culture medium at basolateral surfaces, whereas no secretion of specific polypeptides was observed from apical cell surfaces. Distinct patterns of endogenous proteins were also observed on apical and basolateral cell surfaces, with a much more complex polypeptide pattern on the basolateral membranes. Using surface biotinylation and immunofluorescence, the polyimmunoglobulin receptor was found to be expressed on the basolateral surfaces of HEC-1 monolayers. The specific binding of poly-immunoglobulin A (pIgA) was found to occur on the basolateral surface, and was followed by transcytosis to the apical surface and release into the apical medium. The observed characteristics indicate that the endometrium-derived HEC-1 epithelial cell line can be employed as a model for studies of protein transport in polarized epithelial cells of human endometrial tissues, as well as for studies of the interaction of microorganisms with epithelial cells in the genital tract. © 1995 Society for In Vitro Biology.