Oligomycin reduced the fluorescence intensity of an N-(p-(2-benzimidazoly)phenyl) maleimide (BIPM) probe at Cys-964 of the alpha-chain of pig kidney Na+,K(+)-ATPase with increase in the concentration of Na+ with a Hill coefficient of nh = 0.77 with Kh = 231 mM. The maximum fluorescence decrease was around 80% of the value observed after accumulation of ADP-sensitive phosphoenzyme (E1P) in the presence of 2 M Na+. The addition of Mg2+ and ATP with Na+ or choline chloride to give the same final ligand concentration to the Na(+)-enzyme-oligomycin complex formed with 16 mM Na+ + 1,984 mM choline chloride or 2 M Na+ induced rapid phosphorylation (20 or 21/s) and slower fluorescence decrease (12.1 +/- 1.2 or 10.1 +/- 3.2/s). These additions to the Na(+)-enzyme complex formed under the former or the latter conditions induced slow phosphorylation (13/s) prior to a much slower fluorescence decrease (3.4 +/- 0.3 or 8.6 +/- 0.7/s). The addition of Ca2+ and ATP to these enzyme complexes induced rapid fluorescence changes (21-11/s) followed by one order of magnitude slower rates of phosphorylation (1.5-1.3 s). These data suggest that the decrease in BIPM fluorescence induced by ATP with Ca2+ or with Mg2+, reflects the change of the Na+ binding state before or after the formation of E1P, respectively.