Acidification of the external medium of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, mainly caused by proton extrusion by plasma membrane H(+)-ATPase, was inhibited to different degrees by D2O, diethylstilbestrol, suloctidil, vanadate, erythrosin B, cupric sulfate and dicyclohexylcarbodiimide. The same pattern of inhibition was found with the uptake of amino acids, adenine, uracil, and phosphate and sulfate anions. An increase of the acidification rate by dioctanoylglycerol also increased the rates of uptake of adenine and of glutamic acid. In contrast, a decrease of the membrane potential at pH 4.5 from a mean of -40 to -20 mV caused by 20 mM KCl had no effect on the transport rates. The ATPase-deficient mutant S. cerevisiae pmal-105 showed a markedly lower uptake of all the above solutes as compared with the wild type, while its membrane potential and delta pH were unchanged. Other types of acidification (spontaneous upon suspension; K+ stimulated) did not affect the secondary uptake systems. A partially competitive inhibition between some individual transport systems was observed, most pronouncedly with adenine as the most avidly transported solute. These observations, together with the earlier results that inhibition of H(+)-ATPase activity affects more the acidic than the basic amino acids and that it is more pronounced at higher pH values and at greater solute concentrations, support the view that it is the protons in or at the membrane, as they are extruded by the ATPase, that govern the rates of uptake by secondary active transport systems in yeast.