The kinetics of association and dissociation for the ouabain-Na+,K+-dependent ATPase complex have been studied in intact turkey erythrocytes as a function of external Na+ concentration, K+ concentration, and temperature. At free ligand concentrations substantially exceeding the concentration of available binding sites, the association reaction exhibits pseudo-first-order kinetics with an association rate constant (k1) that is conveniently determined over a wide range of temperatures (5-37 degrees C). The dissociation reaction exhibits strict first-order kinetics with a dissociation rate constant (k-1) that has the unusual property, in the turkey cell, of being sufficiently great to permit its direct determination even at temperatures as low as 5 degrees C. Values for the equilibrium binding constant for the ouabain-ATPase complex (KA) predicted from the ratio of the association and dissociation rate constants agree closely with independently measured values of KA determined directly under conditions of equilibrium binding. KA is a sensitive function of the composition of the external ionic environment, rising with increasing Na+ concentration and falling with increasing K+ concentration. These changes in KA are shown to be quantitatively attributable to changes in the rate constant k1, k-1 in contrast being unaffected at any given temperature by even very large changes in Na+ or K+ concentration. Arrhenius plots of k1 and k-1 both yield straight lines over the entire temperature range corresponding to activation energies for association and dissociation of 29.5 and 24.2 kcal/mol, respectively. These observations have made it possible to calculate the following standard values for the ouabain binding reaction in the presence of 150 mM Na+: delta G degree = -9.8 kcal/mol; delta H degree = +5.3 kcal/mol; delta S degree = +48.7 cal/degree/mol. The large positive value of delta S degree presumably reflects a highly ordered configuration of the ouabain-free ATPase molecule that is lost upon ouabain binding and that "drives" the reaction despite the positive value of delta H degree.

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