[U-(14)C]glycine uptake into barley (Hordeum vulgare cv Hasso) vacuoles was investigated. Glycine (2 millimolar) transport was stimulated two- to fourfold by NaATP. Stimulation was saturable with respect to ATP (1 millimolar) and linear up to 20 millimolar glycine. Stimulation by NaATP was suppressed by Mg(2+) in equimolar amounts. Neither MgATP nor Mg-inorganic pyrophosphate had any effect on basal transport rate. Thus, the proton motive force can be excluded as the driving force. Uncouplers (valinomycine/carbonylcyanide-m-chlorophenylhydrazone) inhibited the basal rate up to 30% but had no influence on NaATP-stimulated uptake. Vanadate had no effect on either basal or NaATP-stimulated uptake. Nonhydrolyzable ATP analogs (adenylyl(beta, gamma-methylen)-diphosphate or adenylyl-imidodiphosphate) stimulated comparable to NaATP. Other nucleotides (UTP, ADP) had no effect. Some evidence exists that other amino acids (arginine, alanine, isoleucine, phenylalanine) are transported to a certain extent by a similar mechanism. The results indicate a high capacity channel-like translocator that is regulated but not energized by ATP.