Fragmented flagellar axonemes of sand dollar spermatozoa were reactivated by rapid photolysis of caged ATP. After a time lag of 10 ms, axonemes treated with protease started sliding disintegration. Axonemes without protease digestion started nanometer-scale high-frequency oscillation after a similar time lag. Force development in the sliding disintegration was measured with a flexible glass needle and its time course was corresponded well to that of the dynein-ADP intermediate production estimated using kinetic rates previously reported. However, with a high concentration ( approximately 80 microM) of vanadate, which binds to the dynein-ADP intermediate and forms a stable complex of dynein-ADP-vanadate, the time course of force development in sliding disintegration was not affected at all. In the case of high frequency oscillation, the time lag to start the oscillation, the initial amplitude, and the initial frequency were not affected by vanadate, though the oscillation once started was damped more quickly at higher concentrations of vanadate. These results suggest that during the initial turnover of ATP hydrolysis, force generation of dynein is not blocked by vanadate. A vanadate-insensitive dynein-ADP is postulated as a force-generating intermediate.