Pectin is a complex polysaccharide in the primary walls of all plant cells that is thought to be synthesized in the cellular endomembrane system and inserted into the wall via exocytosis. The most abundant pectic polysaccharide, homogalacturonan, is partially methylesterified within the cell by the pectin methyltransferase homogalacturonan methyltransferase (HGA-MT). The subcellular location of HGA-MT activity was determined in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L. cv. Samsun) cell membranes separated on linear sucrose gradients. The activity of HGA-MT and two enzymatic markers of the Golgi apparatus, IDPase and UDPase, were found to be located in the same membrane fraction. No NADH cytochrome c reductase activity, a marker for the endoplasmic reticulum, was detected in the Golgi fraction. Homogalacturonan methyltransferase activity was not reduced by protease treatment of intact membranes or membranes treated with 0.01% Triton X-100. In contrast, HGA-MT activity was reduced by protease treatment of membranes permeabilized with 0.02% Triton X-100. The sensitivity of HGA-MT in detergent-permeabilized membranes, and the lack of inhibition of HGA-MT activity by protease-treatment of intact membranes, provides evidence that the catalytic site of HGA-MT is located on the lumenal side of the Golgi.