Cytosine-phosphate-guanine (CpG) motifs in bacterial DNA are known to activate the mammalian immune system, and this activation is thought to depend on the Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) signaling pathway. Previous studies strongly suggested that TLR9 is involved as the specific receptor for CpG motifs but did not provide direct evidence of their interaction. In this study, we demonstrate for the first time that murine TLR9 binds an unmethylated CpG-containing plasmid. This interaction is sequence-specific and is influenced by the methylation status of the plasmid. Furthermore, we demonstrate that this interaction leads to the activation of the NF-kappaB pathway in mTLR9-expressing cells. Our results provide a molecular basis for the interaction between CpG-DNA and TLR9.