Killing of Pseudomonas aeruginosa by a 55-kDa bactericidal protein (BP 55), a 30-kDa protein (BP 30), cathepsin G, elastase, and proteinase 3 has been compared. P. aeruginosa was resistant to killing by elastase and proteinase 3. BP 55 at a 50% lethal dose (LD50) of 0.23 μg of protein per 5 x 106 bacteria per ml killed P. aeruginosa and was far more active than BP 30 and cathepsin G. The LD50s of BP 30 and cathepsin G were 16.9 and 28.3 μg of protein per 5 x 106 bacteria per ml, respectively. Preincubation of BP 55 or BP 30 with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) from P. aeruginosa inhibited bactericidal activity. The N-terminal amino acid sequence of BP 55 and BP 30 revealed no relationship between the two proteins. However, a monoclonal antibody (AHN-15) reacted with both proteins by Western immunoblot. The bactericidal activity of cathepsin G toward P. aeruginosa appeared to be dependent on the availability of the active site of the enzyme; bactericidal activity was inhibited by phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride (PMSF) and by the specific cathepsin G inhibitor, Z-Gly-Leu-Phe-CH2Cl. The enzyme and bactericidal activities of cathepsin G were also inhibited by LPS from P. aeruginosa. LPS from P. aeruginosa was shown to be a competitive inhibitor of the enzyme activity of cathepsin G. Elastase enzyme activity was also inhibited noncompetitively by LPS, but the enzyme was not bactericidal. We have concluded that all three bactericidal proteins (BP 55, BP 30, and cathepsin G) may bind to the LPS of the outer membrane of P. aeruginosa. It appears that the enzyme active site must be available for cathepsin G to kill P. aeruginosa and that the active site may be involved in the binding of cathepsin G to P. aeruginosa.