This paper describes low-density mucus glycoconjugates released from feline trachea by dirhamnolipid (DRL), a toxin from Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Mucus glycoconjugates in feline tracheas were radiolabeled in vivo with 3H-proline and 14C-glucose. Control mucus and that released by 200 micrograms/ml DRL were dissolved in guanidine hydrochloride buffer (GuHCl) and chromatographed on Sepharose CL-2B. Molecules eluting in the void volume (V0) of the column were isolated by isopycnic density gradient centrifugation in CsCl/GuHCl. All samples gave peaks of radiolabeled and periodic acid/Schiff (PAS)-reactive material at rho = approximately 1.50 and approximately 1.60 g/ml, but DRL-stimulated samples contained low-density material (rho < 1.32 g/ml), also PAS-reactive and radiolabeled. Control secretions incubated with DRL in vitro did not form low-density material. In Triton X-100 (1% vol/vol), a nonionic detergent, low-density material behaved as smaller molecules, running in the partially included volume (Vi) of the column of Sepharose CL-2B, but still in the V0 of Sephacryl S-300. Incubation with chondroitinase ABC, heparinase II and III, and keratanase failed to change its elution profile on S-300, evidence against glycosaminoglycans; but proteolysis with trypsin or proteinase K gave two peaks, peptide fragments near the totally included volume of the column and glycopeptides in V0. The V0 glycopeptides banded between 1.50 and 1.55 g/ml in a CsCl gradient and eluted as a single peak in the Vi of Sephacryl S-400, suggesting a distinct homogeneous glycopeptide, smaller than those from normal mucins. The main 14C-labeled sugars in this glycopeptide were fucose, glucosamine, galactosamine, and galactose, consistent with a mucin. Thus, DRL releases stable but noncovalent complexes containing one or more distinct mucinlike glycoconjugates, probably combined with lipids and peptides. We discuss their possible relevance to airway diseases, including cystic fibrosis.