Liver mitochondria from rats fed ethanol chronically demonstrated a 35% decrease in mitochondrial ATPase activity. Moreover, the ATPase activity was inhibited only 61% by addition of oligomycin. Treatment of mitochondria from ethanol-fed rats with the detergent, Lubrol-WX, caused the release of 36% of the F1 from the resulting inner membrane particles. In comparison, only 5% of the F1 was dissociated when control mitochondria were subjected to the Lubrol treatment. However, when the units of ATPase activity from the supernatant and particles obtained after Lubrol treatment were added together, their sums were equivalent in preparations from control and ethanol-fed animals. Moreover, polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis analyses indicated equal amounts of the alpha + beta subunits of F1 in mitochondria from control and ethanol-fed rats. Reconstitution experiments with urea particles and F1 prepared from both control and ethanol mitochondria revealed a decrease in oligomycin sensitivity which could be attributed to an alteration in the functioning of either the oligomycin sensitivity conferring protein or a membrane sector subunit that interacts with oligomycin. Analysis by reconstitution also demonstrated that there were no ethanol-elicited alterations in the properties of the F1 portion of the ATP synthase complex. These observations indicate that the activity of the ATP synthase complex is altered significantly by ethanol-elicited changes in the functioning of those polypeptides involved in modulating both oligomycin sensitivity and the association of F1 with membrane sector subunits.