The reactions of three bifunctional thiol-blocking reagents of differing cross-linking spans and two monofunctional thiol-blocking reagents with the Na+ + K+-stimulated ATPase of the electric-eel electric organ were examined. 1,5-Difluoro-2,4-dinitrobenzene with a cross-linking span of 0.3-0.5 nm (3-5 A) and high solubility in non-polar solvent was the most efficient inhibitor of enzyme activity; thus essential thiol groups exist in a non-polar environment and are approx. 0.3-0.5 nm (3-5 A) from their nearest thiol-group neighbours. Ligands promoting phosphorylation of the Na+ + K+-stimulated ATPase decreased the number of thiol groups bridged by 1,5-difluoro-2,4-dinitrobenzene and by 4,4'-difluoro-3,3'-dinitrodiphenyl sulphone [0.7-1.0 nm (7-10 A) span]. Phosphorylation is associated with a conformational change in the enzyme.

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