An energy-transducing adenosine triphosphatase (ATPase, EC 3.6.1.3) that contains an extra polypeptide (delta) as well as three intrinsic subunits (alpha, beta, gamma) was purified from Micrococcus lysodeikticus membranes. The apparent subunit stoichiometry of this soluble ATPase complex is alpha 3 beta 3 gamma delta. The functional role of the subunits was studied by correlating subunit sensitivity to trypsin and effect of antibodies raised against holo-ATPase and its alpha, beta and gamma subunits with changes in ATPase activity and ATPase rebinding to membranes. A form of the ATPase with the subunit proportions 1.67(alpha):3.00(beta:0.17(gamma) was isolated after trypsin treatment of purified ATPase. This form has more than twice the specific activity of native enzyme. Other forms with less relative proportion of alpha subunits and absence of gamma subunit are not active. Of the antisera to subunits, only anti-(beta-subunit) serum shows a slight inhibitory effect on ATPase activity, but its combination with either anti-(alpha-subunit) or anti-(gamma-subunit) serum increases the effect. The results suggest that beta subunit is required for full ATPase activity, although a minor proportion of alpha and perhaps gamma subunit(s) is also required, probably to impart an active conformation to the protein. The additional polypeptide not hitherto described in Micrococcus lysodeikticus ATPase had a molecular weight of 20 000 and was found to be involved in ATPase binding to membranes. This 20 000-dalton component can be equated with the delta subunit of other energy-transducing ATPases and its association with the (alpha, beta, gamma) M. lysodeikticus ATPase complex appears to be dependent on bivalent cations. The present results do not preclude the possibility that the gamma subunit also plays a role in ATPase binding, in which, however, the major subunits do not seem to play a role.

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