The procyclic acidic repetitive protein is the major cell-surface glycoprotein of the insect-dwelling procyclic forms of the Trypanosoma brucei species of African trypanosomes. The glycoprotein contains an acidic Glu-Pro repeat domain, a glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol membrane anchor and a putative asparagine glycosylation site. In this paper we describe a rapid purification scheme for this glycoprotein, using solvent extraction and hydrophobic interaction chromatography, and a partial characterization of the glycosylphosphatidylinositol membrane anchor. The carbohydrate composition of the anchor is extremely unusual; it contains on average nine GlcNAc, nine Gal, and five sialic acid residues. This is the first description of such a heavily substituted and negatively charged anchor. A comparison between the trypanosome procyclic surface and the Leishmania promastigote surface is also presented.