CD72 is a 45 kDa B cell-specific type II transmembrane protein of the C-type lectin superfamily. It was originally defined as a receptor-like molecule that regulates B cell activation and differentiation; however, its precise function remains unclear since more recent functional analyses, including a gene targeting study, suggest that CD72 may serve as a negative or a positive regulator of B cell signaling. In the present study, we analyzed the cell-autonomous function of CD72 in B cell receptor (BCR) signaling using CD72-deficient cells generated from mature BAL-17 cells. We found that BCR-mediated phosphorylation of CD19, Btk, Vav and phospholipase Cγ2 and association of CD19 with phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase were impaired in CD72-deficient cells. Inositol trisphosphate synthesis was normally induced initially but ablated at 1 min of stimulation in CD72-deficient cells. In the event, Ca2+ release from intracellular stores remained intact, though influx of extracellular Ca2+ was severely impaired in CD72-deficient cells. Furthermore, BCR-evoked activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), extracellular signal-regulated kinase and c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase, and growth inhibition in BAL-17 cells were blocked in the absence of CD72. Significantly, these effects were largely reversed by re-expression of CD72. Thus, CD72 appears to exert a positive effect on BCR signaling pathways leading to Ca2+ influx and MAPK activation, which in turn may determine the fate of BAL-17 cells.