A panel of monoclonal antibodies with specificity for a wound isolate of Proteus mirabilis was established. Of nine antibodies studied in detail, three were broadly reactive with various Proteus isolates, while six reacted in a serotype-specific fashion with the strain used for immunization. Five of the six serotype-specific antibodies were reactive with lipopolysaccharide. The sixth serotype-specific antibody, 4-F (immunoglobulin G1 [IgG1]), was potently protective in a burn wound sepsis model and recognized a protein antigen. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and Western blot (immunoblot) analysis were used to determine that 4-F was reactive with flagellar protein. Approximately 1.3 micrograms of the antibody was sufficient to provide protection against 8 50% lethal doses of wound isolate, and approximately 26 micrograms provided full protection against challenge with 333 50% lethal doses. In vitro test results indicated that 4-F inhibited the motility of the wound isolate, and in vivo testing showed that it inhibited dissemination of the inoculum from the burn site to the liver and spleen. Whereas the antibody was highly effective in preventing the death of mice subsequent to challenge at a burn site, no protection was seen following an intraperitoneal challenge. These results may therefore indicate that the protection observed in the burn model is solely a reflection of the capacity of 4-F to neutralize bacterial motility.