Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) binding protein (LBP), a recently discovered 60-kDa acute phase protein, is present in the acute phase serum of many species including human, rabbits, mice, and rats. Using either highly purified LBP from acute phase rabbit serum or unfractionated acute phase rabbit serum as a source of LBP, we examined the binding of LBP to LPS immobilized on plastic microtiter plates and to LPS electrotransferred to nitrocellulose after sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The presence of LBP bound to LPS was detected with goat anti-rabbit LBP and peroxidase-conjugated rabbit anti-goat IgG. LBP was found to bind to a variety of LPS types from both rough and smooth strains of Gram-negative bacteria, to lipid A, and to the tetraacyl glucosamine disaccharide diphosphate precursor IVA, but bound very poorly to the diacyl glucosamine phosphate, lipid X. No binding to 3-deoxyoctulosonic acid was observed. Binding affinities for LPS are near 10(9) M-1. The data presented here support the concept that LBP contains a binding site for lipid A.