Secreted yeast acid phosphatase is found to be an octamer under physiological conditions rather than a dimer, as previously believed. The octameric form of the enzyme dissociates rapidly into dimers at pH below 3 and above 5, or by treatment with guanidine hydrochloride or urea, without further dissociation of dimers. Crosslinking experiments revealed that the dissociation of the octamer occurs through very unstable hexamers and tetramers, showing that the octamer is built of dimeric units. Dissociation to dimer was in all cases accompanied with a loss of most of the enzyme activity. The underglycosylated acid phosphatase, with less than eight carbohydrate chains per subunit, secreted from cells treated with moderate tunicamycin concentrations, contained besides octamers a high proportion of the dimers. With decreasing levels of enzyme glycosylation, the proportion of dimers increases and the amount of octamers correspondingly decreases. Furthermore, underglycosylated octamers were found to be significantly less stable than the fully glycosylated ones. This showed that carbohydrate chains play a significant role in the octamer formation in vivo, and in stabilization of the enzyme octameric form.