Leukocyte Ig-like receptor (LIR) 1 (CD85j/ILT2/LILRB1) is an inhibitory receptor with broad specificity for MHC class I (MHC-I) and the human CMV MHC-I homologue UL18. LIR-1 can inhibit NK cells through the conventional interaction with MHC-I expressed on a target cell (in trans) but the nature and the effects of LIR-1 interactions with MHC-I in cis are not well understood. Here we show that MHC-I expressed in cis has an impact on the detection of LIR-1 with various antibodies. We found the cis interaction alters recognition by only one of two antibodies known to block functional trans recognition by LIR-1 on NK cells. Specifically, we observed an enhancement of recognition with GHI/75 in the presence of various MHC-I alleles on 721.221 cells. We found that blocking the LIR-1 contact site with anti-MHC-I antibodies decreased detection of LIR-1 with GHI/75. We also observed a decrease in GHI/75 following acid denaturation of MHC-I. Finally, disruption of LIR-1 cis interactions with MHC-I significantly enhanced UL18-Fc binding to NK92 cells and enhanced the relative inhibition of NK92 cells by HLA-G. These results have implications for LIR-1 function in scenarios such as infection when MHC-I levels on effector cells may be increased by IFNs.