The binding pattern of the biologically relevant ions calcium and magnesium has been investigated via the binding of the ion-analogue manganese. The binding parametes of manganese are obtained conveniently by standard electron paramagnetic resonance techniques, the binding of calcium and magnesium is inferred from competition experiments.

The quantitative analysis was carried out with a computer program which was able to treat the competition of three kinds of ions for three classes of independent and one class of cooperative binding sites.

It was possible to correlate specific binding classes with biological functions of the sarcoplasmic reticulum membrane. The magnesium and manganese specific binding class of medium affinity is related to the catalytic function of these ions in the ATP-splitting. For the first time a manganese and calcium specific class of cooperative binding sites has been observed and it can be related to the inhibition of the calcium transport at high concentrations of manganese or calcium.

From the binding results a model can be developed which allows a full description of the role of the divalent ions and their specific binding sites during calcium transport.