Vertebrates and invertebrates initiate a series of defence mechanisms following infection by Gram-negative bacteria by sensing the presence of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a major component of the cell wall of the invading pathogen. In humans, monocytes and macrophages respond to LPS by inducing the expression of cytokines, cell-adhesion proteins, and enzymes involved in the production of small proinflammatory mediators. Under pathophysiological conditions, LPS exposure can lead to an often fatal syndrome known as septic shock. Sensitive responses of myeloid cells to LPS require a plasma protein called LPS-binding protein and the glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored membrane protein CD14. However, the mechanism by which the LPS signal is transduced across the plasma membrane remains unknown. Here we show that Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) is a signalling receptor that is activated by LPS in a response that depends on LPS-binding protein and is enhanced by CD14. A region in the intracellular domain of TLR2 with homology to a portion of the interleukin (IL)-1 receptor that is implicated in the activation of the IL-1-receptor-associated kinase is required for this response. Our results indicate that TLR2 is a direct mediator of signalling by LPS.