The biosynthesis and secretion of cellular fibronectin from human melanoma cells have been investigated by pulse-chase/immunoprecipitation analysis. Melanoma cells synthesize endoglycosidase H (Endo H)-sensitive glycoprotein precursors of fibronectin glycoproteins which chase to an Endo H-resistant monomer with an apparent Mr of 240,000 (240 K). This molecule, which has a significantly higher molecular weight than normal plasma or cellular fibronectin, is rapidly secreted by melanoma cells, resulting in the secretion of 80% of newly synthesized fibronectin in 120 min, following a 10-min biosynthetic pulse. This active secretory process can be inhibited by brief exposure of melanoma cells to sodium monensin (10(-7) M), which also results in a modified fibronectin of lower apparent Mr. Monosaccharide-incorporation studies of melanoma fibronectin reveal that monensin significantly inhibits galactose and fucose incorporation into this glycoprotein, correlating with reported effects of monensin on Golgi apparatus functions. These studies indicate that this tumor-associated and biosynthetically altered cellular fibronectin is a rapidly secreted major N-linked glycoprotein of metastatic human melanoma cells.