Ligands in the first coordination sphere of Mn(II) in the complex of MnADP with myosin subfragment 1 from rabbit skeletal muscle have been investigated. EPR spectroscopy was used to detect superhyperfine coupling between unpaired electrons of the metal ion and the nuclei of oxygen atoms specifically labeled with oxygen 17. The results show that ADP is a beta-monodentate ligand for Mn(II) and that there are probably two water oxygens directly bound to Mn(II). The inhibitory complex of vanadate with subfragment 1 . MnADP was also investigated. Vanadate-dependent changes in the EPR spectra for enzyme-bound Mn(II) indicate that the coordination sphere of MN(II) changes upon binding of vanadate. ADP remains a beta-monodenate ligand in the complex and experiments with 17O-labeled water indicate that two oxygen atoms originally in water are ligands in the complex. However, the oxygens of vanadate equilibrate with those of water during sample preparation so that one of these ligands may be a vanadate oxygen. Three additional ligands, probably from the protein, are required to complete the sextet of ligands to Mn(II) in both complexes studied.