In an experimental rat model, we recently mapped an arthritis susceptibility locus to the distal part of Chromosome 4 containing genes predicted to encode C-type lectin superfamily (CLSF) receptors. Here we report the cDNA cloning and positional arrangement of these receptor genes, which represent rat orthologues to human Mincle and DCIR and to mouse MCL and Dectin-2, as well as four novel receptors DCIR2, DCIR3, DCIR4 and DCAR1, not previously reported in other species. We furthermore report the cDNA cloning of human Dectin-2 and MCL, and of the mouse orthologues to the novel rat receptors. Similar to the killer-cell lectin-like receptors (KLR) some of these receptors exhibit structural features suggesting that they regulate leukocyte reactivity; e.g., human DCIR and rodent DCIR1 and DCIR2 carry an immunoreceptor tyrosine-based inhibitory motif (ITIM), predicting inhibitory function, and conversely, in all three species Mincle has a positively charged amino acid in the transmembrane region, suggesting activating function. Sequence comparisons show that the receptors form a discrete family, more closely related to group II CLSF receptors than to the group V KLR. Their distance to the KLR is underscored by their preservation of evolutionary conserved calcium/saccharide binding residues, present in group II and lacking in group V CLSF and their cellular expression patterns, with most of the genes preferentially expressed by professional antigen-presenting cells (dendritic cells, macrophages and B cells) and neutrophils. In all three species, the genes map together, forming an evolutionary conserved gene complex, which we call the antigen presenting lectin-like receptor complex (APLEC).