tmrB is the gene responsible for tunicamycin resistance in Bacillus subtilis. It is predicted that an increase in tmrB gene expression makes B. subtilis tunicamycin resistant. To examine the tmrB gene product, we produced the tmrB gene product in Escherichia coli by using the tac promoter. TmrB protein was found not only in the cytoplasm fraction but also in the membrane fraction. Although TmrB protein is entirely hydrophilic and has no hydrophobic stretch of amino acids sufficient to span the membrane, its C-terminal 18 amino acids could form an amphiphilic alpha-helix. Breaking this potential alpha-helix by introducing proline residues or a stop codon into this region caused the release of this membrane-bound protein into the cytoplasmic fraction, indicating that the C-terminal 18 residues were essential for membrane binding. On the other hand, TmrB protein has an ATP-binding consensus sequence in the N-terminal region. We have tested whether this sequence actually has the ability to bind ATP by photoaffinity cross-linking with azido-[alpha-32P]ATP. Wild-type protein bound azido-ATP well, but mutants with substitutions in the consensus amino acids were unable to bind azido-ATP. These C-terminal or N-terminal mutant genes were unable to confer tunicamycin resistance on B. subtilis in a multicopy state. It is concluded that TmrB protein is a novel ATP-binding protein which is anchored to the membrane with its C-terminal amphiphilic alpha-helix.