Neutrophil attractant/activation protein-1 (NAP-1) was previously shown to attract human neutrophils, but not monocytes. The purpose of this study was to determine if NAP-1 interacted with other types of blood leukocytes. In addition to its chemotactic activity for neutrophils, NAP-1 induced chemotactic responses by T lymphocytes and basophils. Chemotactic potency (10(-8) M for an optimal response) was the same for all three cell types. However, NAP-1 caused a chemotactic response in excess of random migration of 7% or 16% of basophils (depending on the medium used) and only 9% of T lymphocytes, in contrast to 30% of neutrophils. This agonist was not chemotactic for partially purified normal human eosinophils. The symmetrical histogram obtained by flow cytometry of neutrophils equilibrated at 0 degree C with fluoresceinated NAP-1 indicates that all neutrophils bound the ligand. A dose-response curve plateau, and inhibition of binding of NAP-1-FITC by unlabeled ligand are evidence for saturable binding to receptors, estimated to be 7000 per cell. Our results suggest that, for induction of an acute inflammatory response, the quantitatively significant action of NAP-1 is on neutrophils.