This report describes the structural characterization of the recombinant envelope glycoprotein (rgp120) of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 produced by expression in Chinese hamster ovary cells. Enzymatic cleavage of rgp120 and reversed-phase high performance liquid chromatography were used to confirm the primary structure of the protein, to assign intrachain disulfide bonds, and to characterize potential sites for N-glycosylation. All of the tryptic peptides identified were consistent with the primary structure predicted from the cDNA sequence. Tryptic mapping studies combined with treatment of isolated peptides with Staphylococcus aureus V8 protease or with peptide:N-glycosidase F followed by endoproteinase Asp-N permitted the assignment of all nine intrachain disulfide bonds of rgp120. The 24 potential sites for N-glycosylation were characterized by determining the susceptibilities of the attached carbohydrate structures to peptide:N-glycosidase F and to endo-beta-N-acetylglucosaminidase H. Tryptic mapping of enzymatically deglycosylated rgp120 was used in conjunction with Edman degradation and fast atom bombardment-mass spectrometry of individually treated peptides to determine which of these sites are glycosylated and what types of structures are present. The results indicate that all 24 sites of gp120 are utilized, including 13 that contain complex-type oligosaccharides as the predominant structures, and 11 that contain primarily high mannose-type and/or hybrid-type oligosaccharide structures.