The effect of superoxide radical on the azide-insensitive ATP-dependent Ca2+-transport by a plasma membrane (PM)-enriched fraction (F2) and an endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-enriched fraction (F3) isolated from pig coronary artery was examined using xanthine oxidase plus xanthine to generate superoxide ions. A preincubation with xanthine oxidase plus xanthine at 37 degrees C preferentially inactivated the oxalate-stimulated Ca2+ uptake by the F3 fraction rather than the phosphate-stimulated uptake by the F2 fraction, indicating that the Ca2+ pump in the ER was more susceptible to this free radical. The inactivation of the Ca2+ uptake depended on the concentrations of xanthine oxidase and xanthine in the preincubation mixture as well as on the preincubation time. Furthermore, the inclusion of superoxide dismutase in the preincubation mixture prevented the inactivation. Thus the inactivation was caused by superoxide radical. Preincubation with xanthine oxidase plus xanthine, however, altered the half-life of efflux of Ca2+ from these vesicles only marginally. On sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, the F3 fraction showed formation of a Ca2+-dependent acid stable phosphoenzyme at 0 degree C predominantly at a protein band corresponding to 100 kDa. The level of the 100-kDa acylphosphate intermediate was inhibited in parallel with the inhibition of the Ca2+ uptake by preincubation with xanthine oxidase plus xanthine. We conclude that superoxide radical inactivates the ER Ca2+ transport by lowering the level of the phosphoenzyme.