Over the last 30 years, many studies have indicated that glycosphingolipids (GSLs) expressed on the cell surface may act as binding sites for microorganisms. Based on their physicochemical characteristics, GSLs form membrane microdomains with cholesterol, sphingomyelin, glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored proteins, and various signaling molecules, and GSL-enriched domains have been shown to be involved in these defense responses. Among the GSLs, lactosylceramide (LacCer, CDw17) can bind to various microorganisms. LacCer is expressed at high levels on the plasma membrane of human neutrophils, and forms membrane microdomains associated with the Src family tyrosine kinase Lyn. LacCer-enriched membrane microdomains mediate superoxide generation, chemotaxis, and non-opsonic phagocytosis. Therefore, LacCer-enriched membrane microdomains are thought to function as pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) to recognize pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) expressed on microorganisms. In contrast, several pathogens have developed infection mechanisms using membrane microdomains. In addition, some pathogens have the ability to avoid degradation by escaping from the vacuolar compartment or preventing phagosome maturation, utilizing membrane microdomains, such as LacCer-enriched domains, of host cells. The detailed molecular mechanisms of these membrane microdomain-associated host-pathogen interactions remain to be elucidated. © 2012 International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.