CD43, CD44, CD16, and L-selectin have been previously shown to be enzymatically cleaved from stimulated leukocytes. However, little is known about the enzymes involved in these processes. Here, metalloprotease(s) inhibitable by 1,10-phenanthroline together with serine protease(s) inhibitable by N alpha-p-tosyl-L-lysine chloromethyl ketone and 3,4-dichloroisocoumarin are shown to be involved in the cleavage of CD43, CD44, and CD16 but not in the cleavage of L-selectin on granulocytes. In addition, mAbs that recognize these individual receptors and induce their specific cleavage did not initiate cleavage of the others. In one case only, L-selectin, cleavage was also triggered by mAbs interacting with CD16 (the low affinity Fc gamma R). Thus, this mechanism represents a novel pathway of L-selectin cleavage induction.