Membrane fragments from high potassium (HK) and low potassium (LK) sheep red cells were separated by density gradient centrifugation. Three preparations were studied: (1) HK membranes sonicated for 20 minutes, (2) HK membranes sonicated for 3 minutes, and (3) LK membranes sonicated for 3 minutes. The adenosine triphosphatase (ATPase) activity in the maximally disrupted preparation (1) was not sensitive to Na + K and was recovered in relatively small but heavy (specific gravity 1.19) fragments which made up no more than 8 per cent of the total membrane. Both Na + K-sensitive (S) and Na + K-insensitive (I) ATPase activity were found in the more gently broken up preparations (2) and (3) but the ratio of S- to I-ATPase was much greater in HK than in LK membrane fragments. S-ATPase activity in preparation (2) was about 50 per cent that observed in HK membranes prior to sonication. S-ATPase activity was recovered from the density gradient in relatively large but light (specific gravity 1.10) fragments. As was the case with the maximally disrupted preparation (1), I-ATPase activity in both preparations (2) and (3) was recovered in small but heavy (specific gravity > 1.20) fragments. The possibility that sensitivity of sheep red cell membrane ATPase to Na + K depends on the association between units containing the enzyme(s) and large, light, phospholipid-containing components is discussed.

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