Free and bound forms of hexokinase, pyruvate kinase, and lactate dehydrogenase were prepared from the brain of the sea scorpion (Scorpaena porcus) in a low ionic strength medium. Properties of the free and bound forms were compared to determine whether binding to particulate matter could influence enzyme function or stability in vivo. Changes in pH differently affected the activity of the free and bound forms of all three enzymes. Furthermore, bound forms of hexokinase and pyruvate kinase were more stable than the free enzymes to heating at 45 degrees C. Bound hexokinase showed higher affinity for substrates (ATP, glucose) than the free form and bound lactate dehydrogenase had greater affinity for pyruvate and NADH. Although the affinities of the two forms of pyruvate kinase for substrates were similar, Hill coefficients for phosphoenolpyruvate as well as inhibition by ATP differed between the two enzyme forms. Free and bound lactate dehydrogenase also showed differences in Hill coefficients and bound lactate dehydrogenase was less sensitive to substrate inhibition by high pyruvate concentrations. The possible physiological role of the binding of these glycolytic enzymes to subcellular structures is discussed.