Subunit c of the H(+) transporting ATP synthase is an essential part of its membrane domain that participates in transmembrane proton conduction. The annular architecture of the subunit c from different species has been previously reported. However, little is known about the type of interactions that affect the formation of c-rings in the ATPase complex. Here we report that subunit c over-expressed in Escherichia coli and purified in non-ionic detergent solutions self-assembles into annular structures in the absence of other subunits of the complex. The results suggest that the ability of subunit c to form rings is determined by its primary structure.