Serum amyloid A protein (SAA) is an acute-phase reactant, known to mediate pro-inflammatory cellular responses. This study reports that CLA-1 (CD36 and LIMPII Analogous-1; human orthologue of the Scavenger Receptor Class B Type I (SR-BI)) mediates SAA uptake and downstream SAA signaling. Flow cytometry experiments revealed more than a 5-fold increase of Alexa-488 SAA uptake in HeLa cells stably transfected with CLA-1. Alexa 488-HDL uptake directly correlated with SAA uptake when determined in several CLA-1 stably transfected HeLa cell clones expressing various levels of CLA-1. SAA directly binds to CLA-1 as determined by cross-linking and colocalization of anti-CLA-1 antibody with SAA. SAA was co-internalized with transferrin to the endocytic recycling compartment pointing to a potential site of SAA metabolism. Alexa-488 SAA uptake in the CLA-1-overexpressing HeLa cells, as well as in THP-1 monocyte cell line, can be efficiently blocked by unlabeled SAA, high density lipoprotein, and other CLA-1 ligands. At the same time, markedly enhanced levels of phosphorylation of the mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), ERK1/2, and p38, were observed in cells stably transfected with CLA-1 cells following SAA stimulation when compared with mock transfected cells. The levels of the SAA-induced interleukin-8 (IL-8) secretion by CLA-1-overexpressing cells also significantly exceeded (5- to 10-fold) those detected for control cells. Synthetic amphipathic peptides possessing a structural alpha-helical motif inhibited SAA-induced activation of both MAPKs and IL-8 secretion in THP-1 cells. The results of this study demonstrate for the first time that CLA-1 functions as an endocytic SAA receptor and is involved in SAA-mediated cell signaling events associated with the immune-related and inflammatory effects of SAA.