Phosphorylation of p47(phox) is a key event in NADPH oxidase activation. We examined the ability of proinflammatory cytokines such as TNFalpha, IL-1, and G-CSF to induce this process compared with GM-CSF. Only TNF-alpha and GM-CSF induced a clear p47(phox) phosphorylation. This phosphorylation was time dependent and reached its maximum at 20 min. Two-dimensional phosphopeptide mapping of p47(phox) phosphorylated in neutrophils primed with TNF-alpha revealed partial phosphorylation of p47(phox) on the same peptide as for GM-CSF. Neutrophil incubation with TNF-alpha and subsequent addition of the chemotactic peptide fMLP resulted in more intense phosphorylation of p47(phox) sites than with each reagent alone. A neutralizing Ab against the p55 TNF receptor, contrary to a neutralizing Ab against the p75 TNF receptor, inhibited TNF-alpha-induced p47(phox) phosphorylation. Neutrophil treatment with both TNF-alpha and GM-CSF resulted in more intense phosphorylation of the same p47(phox) peptide observed with each cytokine alone, suggesting that they engaged pathways converging on common serines. This additive effect was also obtained on the priming of NADPH oxidase activity. The use of protein kinase inhibitors pointed to the involvement of a protein tyrosine kinase, but not protein kinase C. These findings show that TNF-alpha, via its p55 receptor, induces a protein tyrosine kinase-dependent selective phosphorylation of p47(phox) on specific serines. The ability of TNF-alpha and GM-CSF, two different cytokines with two different receptors to induce this specific p47(phox) phosphorylation, suggests that this event could be a common element of the priming of neutrophils by TNF-alpha and GM-CSF.