The modification of Escherichia coli citrate synthase (citrate oxaloacetatelyase(pro-3S-CH2.COO- leads to acetyl-CoA, EC 188.8.131.52) with 5,5'-dithiobis-(2-nitrobenzoic acid) has been investigated. (1) In low ionic strength (20 mM Tris.HCl, pH 8.0): (A) Eight thiol groups per tetramer of the native enzyme reacted with Nbs2. (b) Two of the eight accessible thiols were modified rapidly with the loss of 26% enzyme activity but with no change in the NADH inhibition. The remaining six were modified more slowly, resulting in a further 60% loss of activity and complete densensitization to NADH. (c) The 2nd-order rate constant for the modification of the rapidly reacting thiols is 2.5.10(4) M-1.min-1. At the reagent concentrations used (0.1 to 0.2 mM) the modification of the six thiols in the slow kinetic set appeared to be 1st-order; at 0.1 mM dithionitrobenzoic acid their rate of modification was approximately 30 times slower than the thiols in the fast kinetic set. (2) In high ionic strength (20 mM Tris.HCl, pH 8.0, 0.1 M KCl): (a) Four thiol groups were modified in a single kinetic set and it appeared that these thiols are four of the six slowly modified in the absence of KCl. (b) The modification resulted in 70% loss of enzyme activity and complete loss of NADH inhibition. (3) From the kinetic analysis it is proposed that the four thiol groups accessible to dithionitrobenzoic acid in the absence and presence of 0.1 M KCl are those involved in the response of NADH. Modification of any one of these four groups produced no reduction in the inhibition; instead, loss of NADH sensitivity was coincident with the appearance of tetrameric protein possessing three substituted thiols, whereas enzyme with one or two modified groups was still fully inhibited by NADH.