CD38 is a 42-kilodalton glycoprotein expressed extensively on B and T lymphocytes. CD38 exhibits a structural homology to Aplysia adenosine diphosphate (ADP)-ribosyl cyclase. This enzyme catalyzes the synthesis of cyclic ADP-ribose (cADPR), a metabolite of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADplus) with calcium-mobilizing activity. A complementary DNA encoding the extracellular domain of murine CD38 was constructed and expressed, and the resultant recombinant soluble CD38 was purified to homogeneity. Soluble CD38 catalyzed the formation and hydrolysis of cADPR when added to NADplus. Purified cADPR augmented the proliferative response of activated murine B cells, potentially implicating the enzymatic activity of CD38 in lymphocyte function.