The cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) functions as an ATPase and as a chloride channel. It has been hypothesized, on the basis of electrophysiological findings, that the catalytic activity of CFTR is tightly coupled to the opening and closing of the channel gate. In the present study, to determine the structural basis for the ATPase activity of CFTR, we assessed the effect of mutations within the "Walker A" consensus motifs on ATP hydrolysis by the purified, intact protein. Mutation of the lysine residue in the "Walker A" motif of either the first nucleotide binding fold (CFTRK464A) or the second nucleotide binding fold (CFTRK1250A) inhibited the ATPase activity of the purified intact CFTR protein significantly, by greater than 50%. This finding suggests that the two nucleotide binding folds of CFTR are functioning cooperatively in catalysis. However, the rate of channel gating was only significantly inhibited in one of these purified mutants, CFTRK1250A, suggesting that ATPase activity may not be tightly coupled to channel gating as previously hypothesized.