The AMP-dependent stimulation of the cyanide-insensitive respiration of Paramecium mitochondria was investigated. The nucleotides exhibiting a stimulatory effect on the cyanide-insensitive oxidation of pyruvate (+ malate) in a medium supplemented with EDTA or carboxyatractyloside were, in decreasing order of efficiency, AMP, GMP, IMP, UMP and TMP. On the other hand, ADP, ATP and cyclic AMP were ineffective. In the presence of carboxyatractyloside, addition of AMP to Paramecium mitochondria incubated with pyruvate (+malate) led to an increase in membrane potential. In the absence of light, the photoactivable derivative of AMP, 3'-[4-[N-(4-azido-2-nitrophenyl)amino]butyryl]-AMP (NAP4-AMP) added to Paramecium mitochondria opposed the stimulatory effect of AMP on the cyanide-insensitive respiration; the Ki for NAP4-AMP was much lower than the Km for AMP, 0.2 microM compared with 120 microM. The ADP-stimulated respiration was not affected. Photoirradiation of Paramecium mitochondria in the presence of NAP4-AMP resulted in irreversible inhibition of the AMP-stimulated cyanide-insensitive respiration. No effect on the ADP-stimulated respiration was observed. A heatlabile cyanide-insensitive ubiquinol oxidase was extracted from Paramecium mitochondria with the detergent NN-dimethyl-N-(3-laurylamidopropyl)amine oxide. The quinol oxidase activity was slightly stimulated by AMP.