Murine anti-CD14 mAb which recognize different CD14 epitopes induced marked homotypic adhesion of normal human monocytes. Induction of aggregation by anti-CD14 mAb required Mg2+, occurred at an optimal temperature of 37 degrees C, but not at 4 degrees C, and exhibited a kinetics which differed from adhesion triggered by IFN-gamma and anti-CD43 mAb. Monocyte adhesion induced by anti-CD14 mAb required neither Fcy gamma R engagement nor cross-linking of CD14, because adhesion was induced by F(ab)'2 fragments, as well as by monovalent F(ab) fragments of anti-CD14 mAb. mAb to CD11a, CD18, and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), but not antibodies to CD11b and CD11c, inhibited monocyte adhesion induced by CD14 engagement. These results indicate that CD14-dependent adhesion is mediated by lymphocyte function-associated Ag-1/ICAM-1 interactions. This was confirmed by the absence of aggregation in anti-CD14-stimulated cells from a patient with leukocyte adhesion deficiency. Monocyte adhesion upon CD14 engagement was blocked by an inhibitor of protein kinases, sphingosine. This suggests that protein kinases play a role in the intracellular signaling pathway(s) which couple CD14 to lymphocyte function-associated Ag-1/ICAM-1.