The deffects of a purified homologue of tunicamycin (B2-tunicamycin) on the biosynthesis of lipid-linked intermediates participating in protein glycosylation in normal embryonic fibroblasts, 3T3 and virally transformed (simian virus 40 and polyoma virus) mouse fibroblasts grown in culture were investigated. Long incubations (20 h) with the antibiotic caused a higher degree of inhibition of sugar incorporation into glycoproteins in transformed cells. However, the formation of lipid-linked intermediates was inhibited to a similar level in both cell types. When time dependent inhibition experiments were carried out using transformed cells, an earlier and stronger inhibition of the formation of lipid-oligosaccharides occurred (70% inhibition at 30 min). In 3T3 cells, prolonged incubation (6–8 h) was necessary in order to reach a similar degree of inhibition. Formation of lipid-sugar was also inhibited to a greater extent by B2-tunicamycin in transformed cells. This inhibition was not clearly time dependent. Analysis of the newly synthesized glycolipids in 3T3 and in transformed cells after B2-tunicamycin treatment have shown reduction in dolichyl-P-P-sugars as well as in other glycolipids. Dimethylsulfoxide (10%) and linoleic acid (0.5 mg/ml) markedly increased the level of tunicamycin activity in 3T3 cells while phosphatidylcholine (2 mg/ml) partially reversed it. The stronger and faster inhibition of the formation of lipid intermediates of the dolichyl-phosphate cycle caused by B2-tunicamycin in transformed cells, described here for the first time, may therefore be due to differences in penetration of the antibiotic into these cells.