Monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1) has an important influence on monocyte migration into sites of inflammation. Our understanding of the signal transduction pathways involved in the response of monocytes to MCP-1 is quite limited yet potentially significant for understanding and manipulating the inflammatory response. Prior studies have demonstrated a crucial regulatory role for cytosolic phospholipase A(2) (cPLA(2)) in monocyte chemotaxis to MCP-1. In these studies we investigated the role for another PLA(2), calcium-independent PLA(2) (iPLA(2)) in comparison to cPLA(2). Pharmacological inhibitors of PLA(2) were found to substantially inhibit chemotaxis. Using antisense oligodeoxyribonucleotide treatment we found that iPLA(2) expression is required for monocyte migration to MCP-1. Complete blocking of the chemotactic response was observed with inhibition of either iPLA(2) or cPLA(2) expression by their respective antisense oligodeoxyribonucleotide. In reconstitution experiments, lysophosphatidic acid completely restored MCP-1-stimulated migration in iPLA(2)-deficient monocytes, whereas lysophosphatidic acid was without effect in restoring migration in cPLA(2)-deficient monocytes. To the contrary, arachidonic acid fully restored migration of cPLA(2)-deficient monocytes while having no effect on the iPLA(2)-deficient monocytes. Additional studies revealed that neither enzyme appears to be upstream of the other indicating that iPLA(2) and cPLA(2) represent parallel regulatory pathways. These data demonstrate novel and distinct roles for these two phospholipases in this critical step in inflammation.