Some CD2 family receptors stimulate NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity through a signaling pathway, which is dependent on the recruitment of an adapter protein called SLAM-associated protein (SAP). In this work we identify a novel leukocyte cell surface receptor of the CD2 family called CD2-1ike receptor activating cytotoxic cells (CRACC). CRACC is expressed on cytotoxic lymphocytes, activated B cells, and mature dendritic cells, and activates NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity. Remarkably, although CRACC displays cytoplasmic motifs similar to those recruiting SAP, CRACC-mediated cytotoxicity occurs in the absence of SAP and requires activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases-1/2. Thus, CRACC is a unique CD2-like receptor which mediates NK cell activation through a SAP-independent extracellular signal-regulated kinase-mediated pathway.