The pentapeptide pepstatin was shown to be chemotactic for human neutrophils by two techniques: ED50 for chemotaxis was found to be 3 μ M by the agarose method and 0.2 μ M by the Boyden chamber technique. Pepstatin also induced superoxide radical generation, release of lysosomal enzymes, and a transient increase in intercellular adenosine-3′,5′-cyclic monophosphate (cAMP) levels in a dose-dependent manner. Carbobenzoxy-phenylalanyl-methionine (CBZ-PM), which competitively inhibits formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine (FMLP)-induced neutrophil functions, also inhibited pepstatin-induced neutrophil function of superoxide generation in a dose-dependent fashion. Likewise, pepstatin inhibited the binding of [3H]FMLP to the cells. Furthermore, preincubation of neutrophils with suboptimal concentrations of FMLP or pepstatin diminished the cellular response toward either factor when tested for their chemotactic activity and for their ability to induce superoxide generation, to release granule enzymes, and to induce a transient increase in intracellular cAMP levels. The concentrations of pepstatin or FMLP tested had no effect on superoxide generation, granule enzyme release, or intracellular levels of cAMP on subsequent challenge with C5a; both of these factors, however, cross-deactivated the chemotactic response of the cells towards C5a. Similar results were observed when cells were preincubated with C5a and subsequently challenged with pepstatin or FMLP. These results suggest that FMLP and pepstatin interact with the same receptor molecules to activate human neutrophil functions. Furthermore, our data indicate that the deactivation of the neutrophil functions of superoxide production and granule enzyme release are receptor specific, but the heterologous deactivation of chemotaxis involves a postreceptor mechanism(s).