The immunoglobulin MOPC167, which binds the transition state analog p-nitrophenylphosphorylcholine with high affinity, catalyzed the hydrolysis of the corresponding carbonate 1. MOPC167 catalysis displayed saturation kinetics with catalytic constant (kcat) = 0.4 min-1 and Michaelis constant (Km) = 208 microM, showed substrate specificity, and was inhibited by p-nitrophenylphosphorylcholine. The rate of the reaction was first order in hydroxide ion concentration between pH 6.0 and 8.0. The lower limit for the rate of acceleration of hydrolysis by the antibody above the uncatalyzed reaction was 770. This study begins to define the rules for the generation of catalytic antibodies.