Murine gp49, a 49-kDa type I transmembrane glycoprotein, is a member of the Ig-like receptors expressed on the surface of cells involved in natural immunity such as mast cells, NK cells, and macrophages. The two major subtypes, gp49A and gp49B, are encoded by two different genes adjacent to each other. gp49B contains an immunoreceptor tyrosine-based inhibitory motif in its cytoplasmic region and is known to function as an inhibitory molecule. In contrast, gp49A does not harbor any specific motif for signal transduction, nor has its physiological role been determined. Here we report on tile stimulatory nature of gp49A by analyzing biochemical characteristics of chimeric molecules consisting of an ectodomain of Fc receptor and a C-terminal half of gp49A, namely the pretransmembrane, transmembrane, and cytoplasmic portions, expressed on the rat basophilic leukemia mast cell line. Cross-linking of the chimeric receptors evoked cytoplasmic calcium mobilization, PGD2 release, and transcripton of IL-3 and IL-4 genes, but did not elicit degranulation of the cells. The chimeric molecule could be expressed as a singlet and a homodimeric form on the cell surface. A pretransmembrane cysteine residue of gp49A was necessary for dimer formation. Dimerization was be necessary for their incorporation into glycolipid-enriched membrane fraction (GEM) upon cross-linking stimuli. Tile calcium mobilization response was inhibited by treatment of cells with methyl-β-cyclodextrin, an inhibitor of GEM formation. Together with these results, it was strongly suggested that gp49A could be expressed as a homodimer and elicit activation signals that lead to calcium mobilization, eicosanoid production, and cytokine gene transcription through its incorporation into GEM.