Lipopolysaccharide-activated macrophages rapidly synthesize and secrete tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha) to prime the immune system. Surface delivery of membrane carrying newly synthesized TNFalpha is controlled and limited by the level of soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor (SNARE) proteins syntaxin 4 and SNAP-23. Many functions in immune cells are coordinated from lipid rafts in the plasma membrane, and we investigated a possible role for lipid rafts in TNFalpha trafficking and secretion. TNFalpha surface delivery and secretion were found to be cholesterol-dependent. Upon macrophage activation, syntaxin 4 was recruited to cholesterol-dependent lipid rafts, whereas its regulatory protein, Munc18c, was excluded from the rafts. Syntaxin 4 in activated macrophages localized to discrete cholesterol-dependent puncta on the plasma membrane, particularly on filopodia. Imaging the early stages of TNFalpha surface distribution revealed these puncta to be the initial points of TNFalpha delivery. During the early stages of phagocytosis, syntaxin 4 was recruited to the phagocytic cup in a cholesterol-dependent manner. Insertion of VAMP3-positive recycling endosome membrane is required for efficient ingestion of a pathogen. Without this recruitment of syntaxin 4, it is not incorporated into the plasma membrane, and phagocytosis is greatly reduced. Thus, relocation of syntaxin 4 into lipid rafts in macrophages is a critical and rate-limiting step in initiating an effective immune response.