Mitochondrial ATPase from rat liver mitochondria contains multiple nucleotide binding sites. At low concentrations ADP binds with high affinity (1 mole/mole ATPase, KD = 1-2 muM). At high concentrations, ADP inhibits ATP hydrolysis presumably by competing with ATP for the active site (KI = 240-300 muM). As isolated, mitochondrial ATPase contains between 0.6 and 2.5 moles ATP/mole ATPase. This "tightly bound" ATP can be removed by repeated precipitations with ammonium sulfate without altering hydrolytic activity of the enzyme. However, the ATP-depleted enzyme must be redissolved in high concentrations of phosphate to retain activity. AMP-PNP (adenylyl imidodiphosphate) replaces tightly bound ATP removed from the enzyme and inhibits ATP hydrolysis. AMP-PNP has little effect on high affinity binding of ADP. Kinetics studies of ATP hydrolysis reveal hyperbolic velocity vs. ATP plots, provided assays are done in bicarbonate buffer or buffers containing high concentrations of phosphate. Taken together, these studies indicate that sites on the enzyme not directly associated with ATP hydrolysis bind ATP or ADP, and that in the absence of bound nucleotide, Pi can maintain the active form of the enzyme.