The hyaluronan (HA) binding activity of mutant CD44 constructs expressed in AKR1 T-lymphoma cells was evaluated by flow cytometry using fluorescein-conjugated HA (Fl-HA). Previous studies showed that wild-type hematopoietic CD44 bound Fl-HA when expressed in AKR1, but that truncated "tailless" CD44, lacking all but six amino acids of the cytoplasmic domain, did not bind. Here, we show that a disulfide-bonded dimer of CD44, formed by substituting the transmembrane region of CD3 zeta chain for that of CD44, binds Fl-HA, even when the cytoplasmic domain of the CD44 dimer is absent. We conclude that dimerization of CD44 abrogates the requirement for the cytoplasmic domain, suggesting that the cytoplasmic domain of CD44 may contribute to HA binding by promoting CD44 clustering. These results suggest that changes in the distribution of CD44 on the cell surface, induced by molecular interactions either from within the cell or from outside, may regulate its role as a receptor. Further studies sought to localize the region of the CD44 cytoplasmic domain contributing to HA binding by the construction of a series of cytoplasmic domain truncation mutants and internal deletion mutants. All of the mutant CD44 molecules bound Fl-HA similarly to wild-type CD44. Thus, it was not possible to assign the function mediating HA binding to a specific region of the cytoplasmic domain, suggesting either that multiple regions of the cytoplasmic domain can promote enhancement of HA binding, or that the role of the cytoplasmic domain in mediating this function does not require a specific amino acid sequence.