Mannose for mammalian glycan biosynthesis can be imported directly from the medium, derived from glucose or salvaged from endogenous or external glycans. All pathways must generate mannose 6-phosphate, the activated form of mannose. Imported or salvaged mannose is directly phosphorylated by hexokinase, whereas fructose 6-phosphate from glucose is converted to mannose 6-phosphate by phosphomannose isomerase (PMI). Normally, PMI provides the majority of mannose for glycan synthesis. To assess the contribution of PMI-independent pathways, we used PMI-null fibroblasts to study N-glycosylation of DNase I, a highly sensitive indicator protein. In PMI-null cells, imported mannose and salvaged mannose make a significant contribution to N-glycosylation. When these cells were grown in mannose-free medium along with the mannosidase inhibitor, swainsonine, to block the salvage pathways, N-glycosylation of DNase I was almost completely eliminated. Adding approximately 13 microm mannose to the medium completely restored normal glycosylation. Treatment with bafilomycin A(1), an inhibitor of lysosomal acidification, also markedly reduced N-glycosylation of DNase I, but in this case only 8 microm mannose was required to restore full glycosylation, indicating that a nonlysosomal source of mannose made a significant contribution. Glycosylation levels were greatly also reduced in glycoconjugate-free medium, when endosomal membrane trafficking was blocked by expression of a mutant SKD1. From these data, we conclude that PMI-null cells can salvage mannose from both endogenous and external glycoconjugates via lysosomal and nonlysosomal degradation pathways.