It was observed recently that recombinant yeast-derived hepatitis B surface antigen (rHBsAg) particles, which contain the S protein only, bind almost exclusively to monocytes. It is shown here that binding requires the presence of the LPS receptor CD14. Furthermore, evidence is presented that a domain on CD14 that is identical to or largely overlaps with the LPS-binding pocket is instrumental for the attachment of rHBsAg. Additionally, it is shown that the heat-labile LPS-binding protein (LBP) catalyses the binding of rHBsAg to the cells. Remarkably, natural plasma-derived HBsAg (pHBsAg) does not have this property. pHBsAg devoid of its lipids and reconstituted with phosphatidylserine or phosphatidylglycerol acquires the characteristic of yeast-derived HBsAg. Clearly, the interaction of rHBsAg with the cell membrane is determined by the presence of charged phospholipids that are absent in pHBsAg. Although a lipid-receptor interaction is suggested, antibody-inhibition experiments suggest a possible involvement of the C-terminal region of the S protein in the interaction with monocytes. The possible implications of these observations for hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and HBV vaccine efficiency are discussed.