Lon is an ATP-dependent serine protease that degrades damaged and certain regulatory proteins in vivo. Lon exists as a homo-oligomer and represents one of the simplest ATP-dependent proteases because both the protease and ATPase domains are located within each monomeric subunit. Previous pre-steady-state kinetic studies revealed functional nonequivalency in the ATPase activity of the enzyme [Vineyard, D., et al. (2005) Biochemistry 44, 1671-1682]. Both a high- and low-affinity ATPase site has been previously reported for Lon [Menon, A. S., and Goldberg, A. L. (1987) J. Biol. Chem. 262, 14921-14928]. Because of the differing affinities for ATP, we were able to monitor the activities of the sites separately and determine that they were noninteracting. The high-affinity sites hydrolyze ATP very slowly (k(obs) = 0.019 +/- 0.002 s(-1)), while the low-affinity sites hydrolyze ATP quickly at a rate of 17.2 +/- 0.09 s(-1), which is comparable to the previously observed burst rate. Although the high-affinity sites hydrolyze ATP slowly, they support multiple rounds of peptide hydrolysis, indicating that ATP and peptide hydrolysis are not stoichiometrically linked. However, ATP binding and hydrolysis at both the high- and low-affinity sites are necessary for optimal peptide cleavage and the stabilization of the conformational change associated with nucleotide binding.