Zymogen granule membranes from the rat exocrine pancreas displays distinctive, simple protein and glycoprotein compositions when compared to other intracellular membranes. The carbohydrate content of zymogen granule membrane protein was 5-10-fold greater than that of membrane fractions isolated from smooth and rough microsomes, mitochondria and a preparation containing plasma membranes, and 50-100-fold greater than the zymogen granule content and the postmicrosomal supernate. The granule membrane glycoprotein contained primarily sialic acid, fucose, mannose, galactose and N-acetylglucosamine. The levels of galactose, fucose and sialic acid increased in membranes in the following order: rough microsomes less than smooth microsomes less than zymogen granules. Membrane polypeptides were analyzed by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis in sodium dodecyl sulfate. The profile of zymogen granule membrane polypeptides was characterized by GP-2, a species with an apparent molecular weight of 74 000. Radioactivity profiles of membranes labeled with [3H]glucosamine or [3H]leucine, as well as periodic acid-Schiff stain profiles, indicated that GP-2 accounted for approx. 40% of the firmly bound granule membrane protein. Low levels of a species similar to GP-2 were detected in membranes of smooth microsomes and the preparation enriched in plasma membranes but not in other subcellular fractions. These results suggest that GP-2 is a biochemical marker for zymogen granules. Membrane glycoproteins of intact zymogen granules were resistant to neuraminidase treatment, while those in isolated granule membranes were readily degraded by neuraminidase. GP-2 of intact granules was not labeled by exposure to galactose oxidase followed by reduction with NaB3H4. In contrast, GP-2 in purified granule membranes was readily labeled by this procedure. Therefore GP-2 appears to be located on the zymogen granule interior.