CD22, a B cell-specific member of the Siglec family, is an important inhibitor of B cell signaling. The first Ig-like domain of CD22 specifically binds to alpha2,6-linked sialic acids. Through these interactions CD22 can mediate adhesion to other cells in trans, but can also bind endogenous ligands on the B cell surface in cis. Cis binding of CD22 to sialylated ligands enhances the efficiency of inhibition and thereby reduces the BCR signaling strength. In this study we used a newly developed oligomeric streptavidin-based sialylated probe as an artificial CD22 ligand. We found that CD22 is bound to ligands in cis on most B cells. However, there is a proportion of B cells with unbound (unmasked) CD22. The subpopulation with unmasked CD22 is 2-fold increased in transitional and marginal zone B cells in the spleen and on B1 cells in the peritoneum, when compared to mature B cells. Also, B cells with unmasked CD22 have an activated phenotype. Unmasking of CD22 could be functionally involved in lowering the signaling threshold on developmental checkpoints such as transitional B cells and during B cell activation or could be a consequence of such activation processes.