Gp170 is a transmembrane glycoprotein that is overexpressed in multidrug-resistant tumor cells and is present in the apical plasma membrane domain of small intestinal mucosal cells. The function of Gp170 was studied in the small intestine of the rat. Jejunal and ileal brush border membrane vesicles, but not basolateral membrane vesicles, manifested adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-dependent transport of daunomycin, a substrate for Gp170, and contained a approximately 170-kilodalton protein that reacts with anti-Gp170 monoclonal antibody. Whereas ATP supported daunomycin transport, nonhydrolyzable ATP analogues were ineffective. ATP-dependent daunomycin transport by brush border vesicles was unidirectional (inside to outside) and temperature dependent and was blocked by Gp170 inhibitors but not by taurocholate or bromsulphalein glutathione. Studies using everted small intestine revealed transport of rhodamine 123, a Gp170 substrate, from the serosal surface through the mucosa and inhibition by Gp170 inhibitors. These results suggest that Gp170 in rat small intestinal brush border membrane vesicles is an ATP-dependent efflux pump responsible for the transport of Gp170 substrates into the small intestinal lumen. Gp170 may protect against exogenously derived potentially damaging hydrophobic cations and contribute to the rarity of small intestinal cancer in humans and many animals.