NTPase activities in mammalian reovirus cores were examined under various conditions that permitted several new differences to be identified between strains type 1 Lang (T1L) and type 3 Dearing (T3D). One difference concerned the ratio (at pH 8.5) of ATP hydrolysis at 50 degrees C to that at 35 degrees C. A genetic analysis using T1L x T3D reassortant viruses implicated the L3 and M1 gene segments in this difference, with M1 influencing ATPase activity most strongly at high temperatures. L3 and M1 encode the core proteins lambda1 and mu2, respectively. Another difference concerned the absolute levels of GTP hydrolysis by cores at 45 degrees C and pH 6.5. A genetic analysis using T1L x T3D reassortants implicated the M1 gene as the sole determinant of this difference. The results of these experiments, coupled with previous findings (S. Noble and M. L. Nibert, J. Virol. 712182-2191, 1997), suggest either that a single type of NTPase in cores is strongly influenced by two different core proteins--lambda1 and mu2--or that cores contain two different types of NTPase influenced by the two proteins. The findings appear relevant for understanding the complex functions of reovirus cores in RNA synthesis and capping.