Murine monoclonal antibody (mAb) NMS-1 was generated which binds to the surface of living human neutrophils. The antigens on neutrophil plasma membranes recognized by mAb NMS-1 were solubilized in Nonidet P-40 and immunopurified on matrix-bound mAb NMS-1. mAb NMS-1 binds to four periodate-sensitive structures of 70,000, 95,000, 140,000, and 170,000 Da on the plasma membrane surface of human neutrophils as was shown by Western blot analysis. Binding of mAb NMS-1 to human neutrophils induced a rapid transient rise in cytosolic free calcium (Quin 2 fluorescence) but no detectable generation of reactive oxygen metabolites. The oxidative burst of N-formyl peptide-treated neutrophils, however, increased in the presence of mAb NMS-1. The kinetics of N-formyl peptide (N-formyl-norleucyl-leucyl-phenylalanyl-norleucyl-tryrosyl-lysine; FNLPNTL)-mediated hydrogen peroxide formation (p-hydroxy phenyl acetate oxidation) in the presence of mAb NMS-1 was analyzed quantitatively. 1) When neutrophils were incubated with mAb NMS-1 before FNLPNTL addition, an increase in rate, magnitude, and duration of hydrogen peroxide formation was observed compared with controls which received no mAb NMS-1 treatment. After termination of the initial linear phase of response, a second transient linear phase of hydrogen peroxide formation was induced. This second phase of activation was not observed in neutrophils which received no mAb NMS-1 treatment. The onset of the response and latency before attainment of the initial linear rate of hydrogen peroxide formation was not changed by mAb NMS-1 pretreatment. 2) When neutrophils were stimulated with FNLPNTL, the addition of mAb NMS-1--after termination of the FNLPNTL-induced response--without delay induced a second transient burst of hydrogen peroxide formation. Persistent activation of hydrogen peroxide formation by mAb NMS-1 in FNLPNTL-stimulated neutrophils was not observed.