A particulate fraction from the Saccharomyces cerevisiae mnn1 mutant was obtained after extracting a 115,000 x g pellet with 0.75% Triton X-100. Incubation of this preparation with labeled Man8GlcNAc and Man9GlcNAc in the presence of GDP-mannose followed by high pressure liquid chromatography showed the formation of Man9GlcNAc and Man10GlcNAc, respectively. Analysis by high resolution 1H NMR of the products indicates that, in each case, the mannose residue added is alpha-1,6-linked to the alpha-1,6-mannose residue of the substrate as follows (where M represents mannose and Gn represents N-acetylglucosamine): (Formula: see text). The mannosyltransferase therefore catalyzes the first step specific to the biosynthesis of the outer chain of yeast mannoproteins. The apparent Km values for both substrates are similar: 0.39 mM for Man8GlcNAc and 0.35 mM for Man9GlcNAc. The alpha-1,6-mannosyltransferase exhibits maximum activity between pH 7.1 and 7.6 in Tris maleate buffer, has an absolute requirement for Mn2+, and also requires Triton X-100. These results indicate that removal of the alpha-1,2-linked mannose residue from Man9GlcNAc is not essential for the alpha-1,6-mannosyltransferase which initiates outer chain synthesis, at least when oligosaccharides are used as substrates in a cell-free system.