Epithelial cells can respond to conserved bacterial products that are internalized after either bacterial invasion or liposome treatment of cells. We report here that the noninvasive Gram-negative pathogen Helicobacter pylori was recognized by epithelial cells via Nod1, an intracellular pathogen-recognition molecule with specificity for Gram-negative peptidoglycan. Nod1 detection of H. pylori depended on the delivery of peptidoglycan to host cells by a bacterial type IV secretion system, encoded by the H. pylori cag pathogenicity island. Consistent with involvement of Nod1 in host defense, Nod1-deficient mice were more susceptible to infection by cag pathogenicity island-positive H. pylori than were wild-type mice. We propose that sensing of H. pylori by Nod1 represents a model for host recognition of noninvasive pathogens.