The actions of insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) are modulated by a family of high-affinity binding proteins (IGFBPs), including IGFBP-6, which preferentially binds IGF-II and is O-glycosylated. Glycosylated and nonglycosylated recombinant human IGFBP-6, expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cells and Escherichia coli, respectively, were purified using IGF-II affinity chromatography and reverse-phase medium-pressure chromatography. Electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESMS) of glycosylated IGFBP-6 revealed considerable heterogeneity of carbohydrate composition. Major glycoforms contained 8-16 monosaccharides, including N-acetylhexosamine, hexose, and N-acetylneuraminic acid. Glycosylation sites of IGFBP-6 were identified as Thr126, Ser144, Thr145, Thr146, and Ser152 by using a combination of ESMS and Edman sequencing of tryptic fragments separated by reverse-phase high-pressure liquid chromatography. One oligosaccharide chain contained 5-6 monosaccharides, whereas the others contained 2-4 monosaccharides. Glycosylated IGFBP-6 exhibited greater resistance to proteolysis by chymotrypsin and trypsin than nonglycosylated IGFBP-6. Native disulfide bond positions in IGFBP-6 were localized by means of observed disulfide-linked tryptic fragments, revealing that there are two disulfide-linked subdomains within each of the N- and C-terminal regions and confirming a previous suggestion that the latter regions are not interconnected. A model of IGFBP-6 is developed in which these distinct domains are separated by a central region which is O-glycosylated.