We show that the production of glucose from glucose-6-phosphate hydrolysis outside microsomes is a function of glucose-6-phosphatase independent of its property to form glucose inside microsomes. Indeed, during development (before 1 day of age), mouse liver microsomes had glucose-6-phosphatase producing glucose solely outside microsomes. Furthermore, in vivo treatment of rats with the glucocorticoid analogue triamcinolone resulted in increased glucose-6-phosphatase activity outside but not inside microsomes and without change in the catalytic subunit 40 kDa glucose-6-phosphatase mRNA abundance or protein level, indicating that other factors induced by triamcinolone (e.g., altered membrane lipid environment and/or a regulatory protein) were responsible for the activity change. Triamcinolone treatment also lessened the inhibition of glucose-6-phosphatase by pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (PLP), but this effect was not due to an interaction of PLP with the active site. Accordingly, reversal of the inhibition was observed after permeabilization of the microsomes. The two distinct orientations of liver microsomal glucose-6-phosphate phosphohydrolase suggest different physiological roles played by this enzyme in the endoplasmic reticulum membrane.