Two distinct Sch-28080-sensitive K-adenosine triphosphatases (K-ATPases) were previously described in the rat nephron: a ouabain-resistant K-ATPase (type I) present in collecting ducts (CD) and a ouabain-sensitive from (type II) located in proximal tubules (PT) and thick ascending limbs (TAL). In K-depleted rats, K-ATPase activity is increased in CD, whereas it is reduced in PT and TAL. Because expression of colonic H-K-ATPase is restricted to the CD of K-depleted rats, we hypothesized that K-ATPase from the CD of K-depleted rats might be different from types I and II. Indeed, type III K-ATPase displays higher sensitivities to ouabain and to Sch-28080 than type II, a lower sensitivity to Sch-28080 than type I, and, conversely to types I and II, it can be stimulated by Na+. Pharmacological differences between types II and III K-ATPases were confirmed by [3H]ouabain binding experiments. Thus the rat kidney expresses three K-ATPases that differ by their pharmacological and kinetic properties, their distribution profile along the nephron and their behavior during K depletion.