Mouse CD1d1, a member of the CD1 family of evolutionarily conserved major histocompatibility antigen-like molecules, controls the differentiation and function of a T lymphocyte subset, NK1+ natural T cells, proposed to regulate immune responses. The CD1d1 crystal structure revealed a large hydrophobic binding site occupied by a ligand of unknown chemical nature. Mass spectrometry and metabolic radiolabeling were used to identify cellular glycosylphosphatidylinositol as a major natural ligand of CD1d1. CD1d1 bound glycosylphosphatidylinositol through its phosphatidylinositol aspect with high affinity. Glycosylphosphatidylinositol or another glycolipid could be a candidate natural ligand for CD1d1-restricted T cells.