The aim of this study was to provide new insight into the mechanism whereby the housekeeping enzyme glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) locates to cell walls of Lactobacillus plantarum 299v. After purification, cytosolic and cell wall GAPDH (cw-GAPDH) forms were characterized and shown to be identical homotetrameric active enzymes. GAPDH concentration on cell walls was growth-time dependent. Free GAPDH was not observed on the culture supernatant at any time during growth, and provoked cell lysis was not concomitant with any reassociation of GAPDH onto the cell surface. Hence, with the possibility of cw-GAPDH resulting from autolysis being unlikely, entrapment of intracellular GAPDH on the cell wall after a passive efflux through altered plasma membrane was investigated. Flow cytometry was used to assess L. plantarum 299v membrane permeabilization after labeling with propidium iodide (PI). By combining PI uptake and cw-GAPDH activity measurements, we demonstrate here that the increase in cw-GAPDH concentration from the early exponential phase to the late stationary phase is closely related to an increase in plasma membrane permeability during growth. Moreover, we observed that increases in both plasma membrane permeability and cw-GAPDH activity were delayed when glucose was added during L. plantarum 299v growth. Using a double labeling of L. plantarum 299v cells with anti-GAPDH antibodies and propidium iodide, we established unambiguously that cells with impaired membrane manifest five times more cw-GAPDH than unaltered cells. Our results show that plasma membrane permeability appears to be closely related to the efflux of GAPDH on the bacterial cell surface, offering new insight into the understanding of the cell wall location of this enzyme.