In this study we have explored the endoplasmic reticulum associated events accompanying the maturation of the tyrosinase-related protein-1 (TRP-1) nascent chain synthesized in mouse melanoma cells. We show that TRP-1 folding process occurs much more rapidly than for tyrosinase, a highly homologous protein, being completed post-translationally by the formation of critical disulfide bonds. In cells pretreated with dithiothreitol (DTT), unfolded TRP-1 is retained in the endoplasmic reticulum by a prolonged interaction with calnexin and BiP before being targeted for degradation. The TRP-1 chain was able to fold into DTT-resistant conformations both in the presence or absence of alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, but folding occurred through different pathways. During the normal folding pathway, TRP-1 interacts with calnexin. In the presence of alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, the interaction with calnexin is prevented, with TRP-1 folding being assisted by BiP. In this case, the process has similar kinetics to that of untreated TRP-1 and yields a compact form insensitive to DTT as well. However, this form has different thermal denaturation properties than the native conformation. We conclude that disulfide bridge burring is crucial for the TRP-1 export. This suggests that although various folding pathways may complete this process, the native form may be acquired only through the normal unperturbed pathway.