Phagocytosis has traditionally been viewed as a specialized function of myeloid and monocytic cells. The mannose receptor (MR) is an opsonin-independent phagocytic receptor expressed on tissue macrophages. When human MR cDNA is transfected into Cos cells, these usually non-phagocytic cells express cell surface MR and bind and ingest MR ligands such as zymosan, yeast, and Pneumocystis carinii. Expression of cDNA for Fc gamma RI (CD64), the high-affinity Fc receptor, in Cos cells confers binding but barely detectable phagocytosis of antibody-opsonized erythrocytes (EA). We report here that chimeric receptors containing the ligand-binding ectodomain of the Fc receptor and the transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains of the MR ingest bound EA very efficiently, whereas chimeras with the Fc receptor ecto- and transmembrane domains and the MR tail, or the Fc receptor ecto- and cytoplasmic domains and the MR transmembrane region, are significantly less phagocytic. All of the chimeric receptors bind ligand with equal avidity, but gain of functional phagocytosis is only conferred by the MR transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains. Endocytosis of monomeric immunoglobulin G by chimeric receptors demonstrates a similar pattern, with optimal uptake by the chimera containing both tail and transmembrane regions from the MR. The chimeric receptors with only the transmembrane or the cytoplasmic domain contributed by the MR were less efficient. Site-directed mutagenesis of the single tyrosine residue in the cytoplasmic tail (which is present in a motif homologous to an endocytosis consensus motif in the LDL receptor cytoplasmic tail [Chen, W.-J., J. L. Goldstein, and M. S. Brown. 1990. J. Biol. Chem. 265:3116]) reduces the efficiency of phagocytosis and endocytosis to a similar extent.