The extracellular domain of CR2, the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)/C3d receptor of B lymphocytes, contains 15 or 16 tandemly arranged short consensus repeat elements (SCR). Recombinant CR2 proteins containing SCR 1 and 2 fused to Staphylococcus aureus protein A (PA-CR2) and to murine complement factor H SCR 20 (CR2FH) were expressed in Escherichia coli and in insect cells, respectively. These recombinant CR2 molecules retained functional activity as indicated by their ability to bind to C3dg in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and to inhibit EBV gp350/220 binding to B cells. PA-CR2 and CR2FH were as efficient in blocking EBV gp350/220 binding as the full-length CR2 extracellular domain, indicating that the first two SCR of CR2 contain the majority of the ligand binding activity of the receptor. PA-CR2 and CR2FH inhibited EBV-induced B-cell proliferation in vitro and blocked the development of EBV-induced lymphoproliferative disease in severe combined immunodeficient mice reconstituted with human lymphocytes. These studies indicate that soluble forms of truncated CR2 proteins may have potential therapeutic value in the treatment of EBV-induced lymphoproliferative disorders in humans that involve viral replication.