Natural killer (NK) cell-mediated lysis is negatively regulated by killer cell inhibitory receptors specific for major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules. In this study, we characterize a novel inhibitory MHC class I receptor of the immunoglobulin-superfamily, expressed not only by subsets of NK and T cells, but also by B cells, monocytes, macrophages, and dendritic cells. This receptor, called Ig-like transcript (ILT)2, binds MHC class I molecules and delivers a negative signal that inhibits killing by NK and T cells, as well as Ca2+ mobilization in B cells and myelomonocytic cells triggered through the B cell antigen receptor and human histocompatibility leukocyte antigens (HLA)-DR, respectively. In addition, myelomonocytic cells express receptors homologous to ILT2, which are characterized by extensive polymorphism and might recognize distinct HLA class I molecules. These results suggest that diverse leukocyte lineages have adopted recognition of self-MHC class I molecules as a common strategy to control cellular activation during an immune response.