We have analyzed the functional domain structure of rat mammary glucosidase I, an enzyme involved in N-linked glycoprotein processing, using biochemical and immunological approaches. The enzyme contains a high mannose type sugar chain that can be cleaved by endo-beta-N-acetyl-D-glucosaminidase H without significantly affecting the catalytic activity. Based on trypsin digestion pattern and the data on membrane topography, glucosidase I constitutes a single polypeptide chain of 85 kDa with two contiguous domains: a membrane-bound domain that anchors the protein to the endoplasmic reticulum and a luminal domain. A catalytically active 39-kDa domain could be released from membranes by limited proteolysis of saponin-permeabilized membranes with trypsin. This domain appeared to contain the active site of the enzyme and had the ability to bind to glucosidase I-specific affinity gel. Phase partitioning with Triton X-114 indicated the amphiphilic nature of the native enzyme, consistent with its location as an integral membrane protein, whereas the 39-kDa fragment partitioned in the aqueous phase, a characteristic of soluble polypeptide. These results indicate that glucosidase I is a transmembrane protein with a luminally oriented catalytic domain. Such an orientation of the catalytic domain may facilitate the sequential processing of asparagine-linked oligosaccharide, soon after its transfer en bloc by the oligosaccharyl transferase complex in the lumen of endoplasmic reticulum.