CD22 is a B cell-restricted member of the immunoglobulin (Ig) superfamily that functions as an adhesion receptor for leukocytes and erythrocytes. CD22 is unique among members of the Ig superfamily in that it has been suggested to bind a series of sialic acid-dependent ligands, potentially through different functional domains expressed by different splice variants of CD22. In this study, the epitopes identified by a large panel of function-blocking and non-function-blocking CD22 monoclonal antibodies were localized to specific Ig-like domains, revealing that all function-blocking monoclonal antibodies bound to the first and/or second Ig-like domains. Consistent with a single ligand-binding region, the two amino-terminal domains were the functional unit that mediated CD22 adhesion with lymphocytes, neutrophils, monocytes, and erythrocytes. The predominant cell surface species of CD22 was a full length 140,000 relative molecular mass seven Ig-like domain glycoprotein and a minor 130,000 relative molecular mass form lacking the fourth domain. While the two amino-terminal Ig-like domains of CD22 are structurally similar to those found in other members of the Ig superfamily involved in cell adhesion and containing an amino acid sequence motif associated with integrin recognition, site-directed mutagenesis of critical residues surrounding this motif did not disrupt CD22-mediated adhesion. These results demonstrate that the unique ligand-binding properties of CD22 are distinct from those of other members of the Ig superfamily involved in integrin-mediated cell adhesion.