We have used epifluorescence and photobleaching techniques to study the lateral distribution and motion of fluorescein-conjugated Fab fragments of anti-C3b receptor antibody bound to human neutrophils when the cells rest on various solid supports (microscope slides or cover slips). Supports composed of quartz, glass, or alkylated glass induced cellular adhesion, spreading, and an extensive lateral redistribution of C3b receptors (but not HLA antigens). The neutrophil C3b receptors become patchy, and the patches apparently undergo nonrandom translational motion. Many patches are found on the upper surfaces of the cells removed from the region of cell membrane-glass contact. In contrast, neutrophils supported by lipid monolayer-coated glass do not adhere or spread, and the C3b receptor remains uniform and diffuses freely (D approximately equal to 2 X 10(-10) cm2/s).