The regions of troponin I (TnI) responsible for Ca2+-dependent activation and Ca2+ sensitivity of the actin-myosin subfragment 1-tropomyosin ATPase (acto-S1-TM) activity have been determined. A colorimetric ATPase assay at pH 7.8 has been applied to reconstituted skeletal muscle thin filaments at actin:S1:TM ratios of 6:1:2. Several TnI fragments (TnI-(104-115), TnI-(1-116), and TnI-(96-148)) and TnI mutants with single amino acid substitutions within the inhibitory region (residues 104-115) were assayed to determine their roles on the regulatory function of TnI. TnI-(104-115) is sufficient for achieving maximum inhibition of the acto-S1-TM ATPase activity and its importance was clearly shown by the reduced potency of TnI mutants with single amino acid substitutions within this region. However, the function of the inhibitory region is modulated by other regions of TnI as observed by the poor inhibitory activity of TnI-(1-116) and the increased potency of the inhibitory region by TnI-(96-148). The regulatory complex composed of TnI-(96-148) plus troponin T-troponin C complex (TnT.C) displays the same Ca2+ sensitivity (pCa50) as intact troponin (Tn) or TnI plus TnT.C while those regulatory complexes composed of TnT.C plus either TnI-(104-115) or TnI-(1-116) had an increase in their pCa50 values. This indicates that the Ca2+ sensitivity or responsiveness of the thin filament is controlled by TnI residues 96-148. The ability of Tn to activate the acto-S1-TM ATPase activity in the presence of calcium to the level of the acto-S1 rate was mimicked by the regulatory complex composed of TnI-(1-116) plus TnT.C and was not seen with complexes composed with either TnI-(104-115) or TnI-(96-148). This indicates that the N terminus of TnI in conjunction with TnT controls the degree of activation of the ATPase activity. Although the TnI inhibitory region (104-115) is the Ca2+-sensitive switch which changes binding sites from actin-TM to TnC in the presence of calcium, its function is modulated by both the C-terminal and N-terminal regions of TnI. Thus, distinct regions of TnI control different aspects of Tn's biological function.