SEC62 is required for the import of secretory protein precursors into the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The DNA sequence of SEC62 predicts a 32-kDa polypeptide with two potential membrane-spanning segments. Two antisera directed against different portions of the SEC62 coding region specifically detected a 30-kDa polypeptide in cell extracts. A combination of subcellular fractionation, detergent and alkali extraction, and indirect immunofluorescence studies indicated that Sec62p is intimately associated with the ER membrane. Protease digestion of intact microsomes and analysis of the oligosaccharide content of a set of Sec62p-invertase hybrid proteins suggested that Sec62p spans the ER membrane twice, displaying hydrophilic amino- and carboxy-terminal domains towards the cytosol. Sec62p-invertase hybrid proteins that lack the Sec62p C terminus failed to complement the sec62-l mutation and dramatically inhibited the growth of sec62-l cells at a normally permissive temperature. The inhibitory action of toxic Sec62p-invertase hybrids was partially counteracted by the overexpression of Sec63p. Taken together, these data suggest that the C-terminal domain of Sec62p performs an essential function and that the N-terminal domain associates with other components of the translocation machinery, including Sec63p.