The outer membrane subunit OprM of the multicomponent efflux pump of Pseudomonas aeruginosa has been assumed to form a transmembrane xenobiotic exit channel across the outer membrane. We challenged this hypothesis to clarify the underlying ambiguity by manipulating the amino-terminal signal sequence of the OprM protein of the MexAB-OprM efflux pump in P. aeruginosa. [3H]Palmitate uptake experiments revealed that OprM is a lipoprotein. The following lines of evidence unequivocally established that the OprM protein functioned at the periplasmic space. (i) The OprM protein, in which a signal sequence including Cys-18 was replaced with that of periplasmic azurin, appeared in the periplasmic space but not in the outer membrane fraction, and the protein fully functioned as the pump subunit. (ii) The hybrid OprM containing the N-terminal transmembrane segment of the inner membrane protein, MexF, appeared exclusively in the inner membrane fraction. The hybrid protein containing 186 or 331 amino acid residues of MexF was fully active for the antibiotic extrusion, but a 42-residue protein was totally inactive. (iii) The mutant OprM, in which the N-terminal cysteine residue was replaced with another amino acid, appeared unmodified with fatty acid and was fractionated in both the periplasmic space and the inner membrane fraction but not in the outer membrane fraction. The Cys-18-modified OprM functioned for the antibiotic extrusion indistinguishably from that in the wild-type strain. We concluded, based on these results, that the OprM protein was anchored in the outer membrane via fatty acid(s) attached to the N-terminal cysteine residue and that the entire polypeptide moiety was exposed to the periplasmic space.