The biosynthesis of platelet-activating factor (PAF) during Gram-negative involves the interaction of LPS with the cells of the host. We have investigated the molecular mechanism that controls cell recognition and PAF biosynthetic response to LPS in human monocytes (MO), glomerular mesangial cells (MC), and HUVEC in culture. The synthesis of PAF by MO and MC involves two proteins, plasma LPS binding protein (LBP) and cell membrane CD14 (mCD14). As MO, MC were shown to express the mCD14 molecule by several mAbs. MO and mCD14-positive MC were stimulated to synthesize PAF either by the 63D3 and IOM-2 mAbs or by the natural ligand LBP-LPS complex. Moreover, LeuM3, 28C5, and 18E12 mAbs that were themselves unable to stimulate the synthesis of PAF blocked PAF synthesis initiated by LBP-LPS complex. LBP was required for synthesis of PAF by MO. In MC, which synthesize PAF also after stimulation by LPS alone, the LBP was shown to speed and significantly enhance the synthesis of PAF. The soluble form of CD14 (sCD14), when added to MO stimulated with LBP-LPS complexes, inhibited the synthesis of PAF possibly by competing with mCD14. In contrast, sCD14 was shown to be required for LPS-induced synthesis of PAF by HUVEC, which did not express mCD14. Therefore, membrane receptors (mCD14) and plasma soluble proteins (LBP and sCD14) may enable different human cell types to synthesize PAF after LPS stimulation.