Abstract: Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy has been used to compare native Na,K-ATPase-containing membranes with those trypsinized in the presence of either Rb+ or Na+ ions to remove the extramembranous parts of the protein, The protein secondary structure content deduced from the amide I band is approximately 30-35% alpha-helix, 37-40% beta-structure, and 13-15% random coli for native membranes from shark rectal gland and from pig kidney, in both the Na- and K-forms. Trypsinization in either Rb+ (a K+ congener) or Na+ removes approximately 35% of the amide I band intensity of native membranes from shark rectal gland. The protein secondary structural content of the trypsinized membranes lies in the range of approximately 23-32% alpha-helix, 37-46% beta-structure, and 12-18% random coil for the shark and kidney enzymes. The distribution of intensity between the bands corresponding to protonated and deuterium-exchanged alpha-helices, and between the component bands attributed to beta-structure, changes considerably on trypsinization, in the direction of a greater proportion of protonated alpha-helix and a broader range of frequencies for beta-structure. The kinetics of deuteration of the slowly exchanging population of protein amide groups is also changed on trypsinization, The mean rate constant for deuteration of trypsinized membranes is approximately half that for native membranes, whereas the proportion of amides contributing to this population increases on trypsinization. The temperature dependence of the amide I band in the Fourier transform infrared spectra indicates that the onset of thermal denaturation occurs at 58 degrees C for native membranes (in either Na+ or K+) and for membranes trypsinized in Rb+, but the major denaturation event for membranes trypsinized in Na+ occurs at approximately 84 degrees C. These results correlate with the functional properties of the intramembranous section of the enzyme.