The effect of monovalent cations on trimeric G protein G(i)1α was measured at equimolar concentration of chloride anion in pertussis-toxin (PTX)-treated HEK293 cells stably expressing PTX-insensitive DOR- G(i)1α (Cys(351)-Ile(351)) fusion protein by high-affinity [(35)S]GTPgammaS binding assay. The high basal level of binding was detected in absence of DOR agonist and monovalent ions and this high level was inhibited with the order of: Na(+) > K(+) > Li(+). The first significant inhibition was detected at 1 mM NaCl. The inhibition by monovalent ions was reversed by increasing concentrations of DOR agonist DADLE. The maximum DADLE response was also highest for sodium and decreased in the order of: Na(+) > K(+) ~ Li(+). Our data indicate i) an inherently high activity of trimeric G protein G(i)1α when expressed within DOR- G(i)1α fusion protein and determined in the absence of monovalent cations, ii) preferential sensitivity of DOR- G(i)1alpha to sodium as far as maximum of agonist response is involved.