Neutrophil and monocyte chemotactic factors were isolated from conditioned media of mouse fibroblasts and epithelial cells. Neutrophil chemotactic activities were purified to homogeneity using a four-step chromatographic procedure, and the corresponding proteins were identified by amino acid sequence analysis. Natural forms of the murine chemokines KC and macrophage inflammatory protein-2 were isolated from virus-infected fibroblasts. However, the major neutrophil chemotactic activity from fibroblasts stimulated with endotoxin plus double-stranded RNA and from PMA-treated epithelial cells resided in other 7- and 8-kDa proteins. Amino acid sequence analysis revealed a novel Cys-Xaa-Cys chemokine structure, characterized by the conservation of four cysteines and the Glu-Leu-Arg motif. Based on the completely identified primary structure of this natural protein, this chemokine must be considered to be the murine homologue of human and bovine granulocyte chemotactic protein-2 (GCP-2; 61 and 64% identical residues, respectively). Due to NH2-terminal cleavage, 11 different forms of mouse GCP-2 were discovered. In contrast to human and bovine GCP-2, functional comparison of long and short NH2-terminal forms of mouse GCP-2 demonstrated that truncated mouse GCP-2 (short form) has a higher specific activity in neutrophil activation (gelatinase B release) and chemotaxis assays. Furthermore, mouse GCP-2 was more potent than human GCP-2 on human neutrophils, and more active than murine KC and macrophage inflammatory protein-2 on mouse neutrophils. In view of the absence of a murine homologue for IL-8, NH2-terminally processed GCP-2 can be considered a major neutrophil chemoattractant in the mouse during the inflammatory response.