Biochemical and cytochemical techniques were used to determine whether oviduct basal bodies have ATPase activity. All studies were carried out on basal bodies isolated and purified from the chicken oviduct. These preparations contained structurally intact basal bodies with basal feet, rootlet, and alar sheet accessory structures. Whereas the specific activity of the basal body ATPase in 2 mM Ca++ or 2 mM Mg++, 1 mM ATP, pH 8.0, averaged 0.04 mumol Pi/min per mg protein, higher concentrations of either cation inhibited the enzyme activity. Furthermore, the pH optimum for this reaction was pH 8.5. In comparison, the ATPase activity in cilia purified and measured under conditions identical to those for determining the basal body ATPase activity averaged 0.07 mumol Pi/min per mg protein. However, the activity increased at higher concentrations of divalent cation, and the pH optimum was pH 10.0. By cytochemical procedures for localizing ATPase activity, ATP-dependent reaction product in isolated basal bodies was found to be confined to: (a) the cross-striations of the rootlet; (b) the outer portion of the basal foot; (c) the alar sheets; and (d) the triplet microtubules. It is concluded that basal bodiesve an intrinsic ATPase activity that, by a variety of criteria, can be distinguished from the ATPase activity found in cilia.

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