A polypeptide of Mr 38,000 has been identified as a specific component of the membrane of presynaptic vesicles, using the monoclonal antibody SY38. This protein, which is acidic (isoelectric at approximately pH 4.8) and glycosylated, appears to be an integral membrane protein, as suggested by its solubilization with the nonionic detergent Triton X-100 and the finding that the epitope recognized by antibody SY38 is located on the cytoplasmic surface of those vesicles. It is found in presynaptic vesicles of neurons of the brain, spinal cord, and retina as well as at neuromuscular junctions. It is also found in the adrenal medulla. Its occurrence in diverse vertebrate species indicates its stability during evolution. This protein, for which we propose the name synaptophysin*, provides a molecular marker for the presynaptic vesicle membrane and may be involved in synaptic vesicle formation and exocytosis.