The activity of reconstituted cytochrome-c oxidase (EC 220.127.116.11) from bovine heart is stimulated by intraliposomal ADP but not by NaCl of the same ionic strength. A monoclonal antibody which reacts with subunits VIa-H (heart-type) and VIc, due to the evolutionary relationship between these subunits, also stimulates the activity of the enzyme from bovine heart but not from bovine liver. The antibody induces a conformational change in the heart enzyme but not in the liver enzyme, as shown by the visible difference spectrum. Preincubation of heart cytochrome-c oxidase with the antibody prevents stimulation of activity by intraliposomal ADP after reconstitution in liposomes. Reconstituted liver cytochrome c oxidase is not stimulated by intraliposomal ADP. The data suggest tissue-specific regulation of the activity of cytochrome-c oxidase by ADP via interaction with the matrix domain of subunit VIa-H.