On addition of ATP to vesicles derived from the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) of skeletal muscle, Ca2+ is accumulated from the external medium. Following uptake, spontaneous release of Ca2+ occurs in the presence or in the absence of ATP. These processes of Ca2+ uptake and release were simulated by using the models derived for ATPase activity [Gould, East, Froud, McWhirter, Stefanova & Lee (1986) Biochem. J. 237, 217-227; Stefanova, Napier, East & Lee (1987) Biochem. J. 245, 723-730] and for Ca2+ release from passively loaded vesicles [McWhirter, Gould, East & Lee (1987) Biochem. J. 245, 713-722]. The simulations are consistent with measurements of the effects of pH, K+, Ca2+ and Mg2+ on uptake and release of Ca2+. The increase in maximal Ca2+ accumulation observed in the presence of maleate is explained in terms of complexing of Ca2+ and maleate within the SR. The calculated concentration of ADP generated by hydrolysis of ATP has a large effect on the simulations. The effects of an ATP-regenerating system on the measured Ca2+ uptake is explained in terms of both removal of ADP and precipitation of Ca3(PO4)2 within the vesicles. It is concluded that both the process of Ca2+ uptake and the process of Ca2+ release seen with SR vesicles can be interpreted quantitatively in terms solely of the properties of the Ca2+ + Mg2+-activated ATPase.

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