Ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase from Rhodospirillum rubrum requires CO2 and Mg2+ for activation of both CO2, both the carboxylase and oxygenase activities are stimulated by 6-phoshpo-D-gluconate, fructose 1,6-bisphosphate, 2-phosphoglycolate, 3-phosphoglycerate, NADPH, and fructose 6-phosphate. The carboxylase activity is not activated by ribose 5-phosphate. The substrate, ribulose bisphosphate, neither activates nor inhibits the CO2 and Mg2+ activation of this enzyme. Activation by CO2 and Mg2+ is rapid and results in increased susceptibility to active-site-directed protein modification reagents. Because the R. rubrum carboxylase-oxygenase is a dimer of large subunits and contains no small subunits, these results suggest that the effector binding sites of the higher plant enzyme may also be found on the large subunit.