Myelin/oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG), a specific component of the mammalian central nervous system, is located on the surface of the oligodendrocyte plasma membrane and the outermost lamellae of mature myelin; it is expressed during the latter steps of myelinogenesis. It has been shown that MOG may play a pathological role in autoimmune demyelinating diseases of the central nervous system, although its physiological function remains unknown. MOG is an integral membrane glycoprotein with an extracellular immunoglobulin-like domain and two hydrophobic segments which were predicted to be membrane-spanning on the basis of hydropathy analysis. As a first step in elucidation of MOG function, we have investigated its membrane topology, combining immunofluorescence studies on cultured oligodendrocytes and MOG-transfected Chinese hamster ovary cells with biochemical analyses, including in vitro translation, membrane insertion and protease-digestion assays. Our results indicate that the C-terminal tail of MOG is located into the cytoplasm, and that only the first hydrophobic region of MOG spans the membrane whereas the second hydrophobic region appears to be semi-embedded in the lipid bilayer, lying partially buried in the membrane with its N-terminal and C-terminal boundaries facing the cytoplasm.