Pyruvate,Pi dikinase (PPDK, EC 188.8.131.52) and NADP-malate dehydrogenase (MDH, EC 184.108.40.206) were activated in the light and inactivated following a dark treatment in mesophyll protoplasts of maize. DCMU (up to 33 micromolar), an inhibitor of noncyclic electron transport, inhibited activation of MDH much more strongly than it did PPDK. Antimycin A (6.6-33 micromolar), an inhibitor of cyclic photophosphorylation, inhibited the activation of PPDK (up to 61%), but had little or no effect on activation of MDH. Carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone (0.2-2 micromolar) and nigericin (0.4 micromolar), uncouplers of photophosphorylation, inhibited activation of PPDK while stimulating the activation of MDH. Phlorizin (0.33-1.7 millimolar), an inhibitor of the coupling factor for ATP synthesis, strongly inhibited activation of PPDK but only slightly effected light activation of MDH. These results suggest that noncyclic electron flow is required for activation of NADP-MDH and that photophosphorylation is required for activation of PPDK.