The effects of chlorpromazine on various properties of the F1-ATPases from bovine heart mitochondria (MF1), the plasma membranes of Escherichia coli (EF1), and plasma membranes of the thermophilic bacterium PS3 (TF1) have been examined. While chlorpromazine inhibited MF1 with an I0.5 of about 50 microM and EF1 with an I0.5 of about 150 microM at 23 degrees C, the ATPase activity of TF1 was stimulated by chlorpromazine concentrations up to 0.6 mM at this temperature. Maximal activation of about 20% was observed at 0.2 mM chlorpromazine at 23 degrees C. Chlorpromazine concentrations greater than 0.6 mM inhibited TF1 at 23 degrees C. At 37 degrees C the ATPase activity of TF1 was doubled in the presence of 0.5 mM chlorpromazine, the concentration at which maximal stimulation was observed at this temperature. Chlorpromazine inhibited the rate of inactivation of EF1 by dicyclohexylcarbodiimide (DCCD) at 23 degrees C and pH 6.5. Concentrations of chlorpromazine which inhibited the ATPase activity of TF1 at pH 7.0 accelerated the rate of inactivation of the enzyme by DCCD at pH 6.5, while lower concentrations of the phenothiazine, which stimulated the ATPase, had no effect on DCCD inactivation. Chlorpromazine concentrations up to 1.0 mM had no effect on the rate of inactivation of TF1 by DCCD at 37 degrees C and pH 6.5. Chlorpromazine at 0.5 mM accelerated the rate of inactivation of MF1 by 5'-p-fluorosulfonylbenzoyladenosine (FSBA), while it slowed the rate of inactivation of EF1 by FSBA. The inactivation of TF1 by FSBA in the absence of chlorpromazine was complex and was not included in this comparison. Chlorpromazine protected MF1 and EF1 against cold inactivation. Whereas 100 microM chlorpromazine afforded about 90% stabilization of MF1 at 4 degrees C, only about 30% stabilization of EF1 was observed under the same conditions in the presence of 400 microM chlorpromazine. Each of the ATPases was inactivated by the structural analog of chlorpromazine, quinacrine mustard. Whereas 5 mM ATP and 5 mM ADP protected MF1 and TF1 against inactivation by 0.5 mM quinacrine mustard, the rate of inactivation of EF1 by quinacrine mustard was accelerated fourfold by 5 mM ATP and slightly accelerated by 5 mM ADP.