We have identified a novel signaling pathway that leads to expression of matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) in in urine macrophages in response to the bacterial endotoxin, LPS. We showed that p38 kinase was essential for this induction and observed that LPS-induced MMP-9 expression was sensitive to rottlerin, a putative protein kinase Cδ (PKCδ) inhibitor. However neither infection with a retrovirus expressing a dominant negative mutant of PKCδ nor down-regulation of PKCδ by prolonged PMA treatment affected MMP-9 expression, thus excluding involvement of PKCδ. Interestingly, LPS-induced MMP-9 expression and p38 kinase phosphorylation were shown to be suppressed by the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine and the flavoenzyme inhibitor diphenyleneiodonium chloride, but not by pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate, an NF-κB inhibitor. In addition, LPS was found to induce the production of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) and this effect was rottlerin-sensitive, suggesting an inhibitory effect of rottlerin on mitochondrial ROS. LPS-induced MMP-9 expression and p38 kinase phosphorylation were also inhibited by rotenone, a specific inhibitor of mitochondrial complex I, supporting the role of mitochondrial ROS in LPS signaling to MMP-9. Finally, we showed that the ROS-p38 kinase cascade targets the transcription factor AP-1. Taken together, our findings identify a ROS-p38 kinase-AP-1 cascade as a novel pathway mediating LPS signaling to MMP-9 expression in macrophages.