Both the dendritic cell receptor DC-SIGN and the closely related endothelial cell receptor DC-SIGNR bind human immunodeficiency virus and enhance infection. However, biochemical and structural comparison of these receptors now reveals that they have very different physiological functions. By screening an extensive glycan array, we demonstrated that DC-SIGN and DC-SIGNR have distinct ligand-binding properties. Our structural and mutagenesis data explain how both receptors bind high-mannose oligosaccharides on enveloped viruses and why only DC-SIGN binds blood group antigens, including those present on microorganisms. DC-SIGN mediates endocytosis, trafficking as a recycling receptor and releasing ligand at endosomal pH, whereas DC-SIGNR does not release ligand at low pH or mediate endocytosis. Thus, whereas DC-SIGN has dual ligand-binding properties and functions both in adhesion and in endocytosis of pathogens, DC-SIGNR binds a restricted set of ligands and has only the properties of an adhesion receptor.