We have determined the nucleotide sequence of the URF A6L and ATPase 6 genes of the mitochondrial DNA of wild-type Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells and of two independently isolated, cytoplasmically inherited CHO mutant cell lines that are resistant to oligomycin, an inhibitor of the mitochondrial ATP synthase (ATPase) complex. Comparison of the nucleotide sequences of the mutants with that of their parental cell line revealed a single nucleotide difference, a G-to-A transition at nucleotide 433 of the ATPase 6 gene. This single base pair change predicts a nonconservative amino acid change, with a glutamic acid residue being replaced by a lysine residue at amino acid 145 of the ATPase 6 gene product in the mutants. This glutamic acid residue and several others in the surrounding amino acid sequence are conserved among all species examined to date. Analyses of several of the biochemical properties of the oligomycin-resistant CHO mutants indicate that the glutamic acid residue at position 145 of subunit 6 of the mitochondrial ATP synthase complex is important for the binding of oligomycin to the enzyme complex, but is not essential for proton translocation.