The binding of the Epstein-Barr virus glycoprotein gp350 by complement receptor type 2 (CR2) is critical for viral attachment to B lymphocytes. We set out to test hypotheses regarding the molecular nature of this interaction by developing an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for the efficient analysis of the gp350-CR2 interaction by utilizing wild-type and mutant forms of recombinant gp350 and also of the CR2 N-terminal domains SCR1 and SCR2 (designated CR2 SCR1-2). To delineate the CR2-binding site on gp350, we generated 17 gp350 single-site substitutions targeting an area of gp350 that has been broadly implicated in the binding of both CR2 and the major inhibitory anti-gp350 monoclonal antibody (MAb) 72A1. These site-directed mutations identified a novel negatively charged CR2-binding surface described by residues Glu-21, Asp-22, Glu-155, Asp-208, Glu-210, and Asp-296. We also identified gp350 amino acid residues involved in non-charge-dependent interactions with CR2, including Tyr-151, Ile-160, and Trp-162. These data were supported by experiments in which phycoerythrin-conjugated wild-type and mutant forms of gp350 were incubated with CR2-expressing K562 cells and binding was assessed by flow cytometry. The ELISA was further utilized to identify several positively charged residues (Arg-13, Arg-28, Arg-36, Lys-41, Lys-57, Lys-67, Arg-83, and Arg-89) within SCR1-2 of CR2 that are involved in the binding interaction with gp350. These experiments allowed a comparison of those CR2 residues that are important for binding gp350 to those that define the epitope for an effective inhibitory anti-CR2 MAb, 171 (Asn-11, Arg-13, Ser-32, Thr-34, Arg-36, and Tyr-64). The mutagenesis data were used to calculate a model of the CR2-gp350 complex using the soft-docking program HADDOCK.