The L1 protein occurs at high concentrations in neutrophils, monocytes, certain reactive tissue macrophages, squamous mucosal epithelia, and reactive epidermis. It constitutes in fact about 60% of the neutrophilic cytosol protein fraction. The two L1 chains (L1H and L1L) are referred to by a bewildering collection of names, various authors having different preferences (MRP-8 and MRP-14; CFA or calgranulin A and B). The most recent proposal is calprotectin because of its calcium-binding properties and antimicrobial effect shown in vitro. L1 belongs to the S-100 protein family and may be involved in the regulation of keratinocyte proliferation and differentiation. It exists at high levels in blood and interstitial tissue fluid in several infectious, inflammatory, and malignant disorders, and it is released abundantly in foci of granulocytes and macrophages. The C-terminal sequence of the L1H chain has been shown to be identical to the N-terminus of peptides known as neutrophil immobilizing factors. Such an activity of L1 could be important for the accumulation of vital granulocytes, while L1 released from neutrophils, macrophages and epithelial cells might exert antimicrobial activity, perhaps by depriving microorganisms of zinc. The minimum inhibitory concentrations of L1 in vitro were found to be 4-32 mg/l for Candida albicans, 64 mg/l for Staphylococcus aureus, 64-256 mg/l for S. epidermidis, and 256 mg/ml for Escherichia coli and Klebsiella spp. Killing was observed at 2-4 times higher concentrations. In patients with HIV infection, those who developed oral candidiasis had significantly lower parotid L1 levels than those who did not (67 micrograms/l vs. 216 micrograms/l).