Suspension-cultured cells of sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus L.) secrete a number of acid hydrolases and other proteins that have both highmannose and complex asparagine-linked glycans. We used affinity chromatography with concanavalin A and an antiserum specific for complex glycans in conjunction with in vivo-labeling studies to show that all of the secreted proteins carry glycans. The presence of complex glycans on secretory proteins indicates that they are passing through the Golgi complex on the way to the extracellular compartment. The sodium ionophore, monensin, did not block the transport of proteins to the extracellular medium, even though monensin efficiently inhibited the Golgi-mediated processing of complex glycans. The inhibition of N-glycosylation by tunicamycin reduced by 76% to 84% the accumulation of newly synthesized (i.e. radioactively labeled) protein that was secreted by the sycamore cells, while cytoplasmic protein biosynthesis was not affected by this antibiotic. However, in the presence of glycoprotein-processing inhibitors, such as castanospermine and deoxymannojirimycin, the formation of complex glycans was prevented but glycoprotein secretion was unchanged. These results support the conclusion that N-linked glycan processing is not necessary for sorting, but glycosylation is required for accumulation of secreted proteins in the extracellular compartment.