Platinum-based heterogeneous catalysts are mostly used in various commercial chemical processes because of their high catalytic activity, influenced by the metal/oxide interaction. To design rational catalysts with high performance, it is crucial to understand the relationship between the metal-oxide interface and the reaction pathway. Here, we investigate the role of oxygen defect sites in the reaction mechanism for CO oxidation using Pt nanoparticles supported on mesoporous TiO2 catalysts with oxygen defects. We show an intrinsic correlation between the catalytic reactivity and the local properties of titania with oxygen defects (i.e., Ti3+ sites). In situ infrared spectroscopy observations of the Pt/mesoporous TiO(2-x )catalyst indicate that an oxygen molecule bond can be activated at the perimeter between the Pt and an oxygen vacancy in TiO2 by neighboring CO molecules on the Pt surface before CO oxidation begins. The proposed reaction pathways for O-2 activation at the Pt/TiO(2-x )interface based on density functional theory confirm our experimental findings. We suggest that this provides valuable insight into the intrinsic origin of the metal/support interaction influenced by the presence of oxygen vacancies, which clarifies the pivotal role played by the support.