Alterations in expression levels of phospholamban (PLB) relative to the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca-ATPase have been suggested to underlie defects of calcium regulation in the failing heart and other cardiac pathologies. To understand how variation in PLB expression relative to that of the Ca-ATPase can modulate calcium transport, we have investigated the inhibition of the Ca-ATPase by PLB in native SR membranes from slow-twitch skeletal and cardiac muscle and in reconstituted proteoliposomes. Quantitative immunoblotting in combination with affinity-purified protein standards was used to measure protein concentrations of PLB and of the Ca-ATPase. Functional inhibition of the Ca-ATPase was determined from both the calcium concentrations for half-maximal activation (Ca1/2) and the shift in the calcium concentrations following release of PLB inhibition (i.e., ΔCa1/2) by incubation with monoclonal antibodies against PLB, which are equivalent to phosphorylation of PLB by cAMP-dependent protein kinase. We report that equivalent levels of PLB inhibition and antibody-induced activation (ΔCa1/2 = 0.25 ± 0.02, μM) are observed in SR membranes from slow-twitch skeletal and cardiac muscle, where molar stoichiometries of PLB expressed per Ca-ATPase vary, respectively, from 0.9 ± 0.1 to 4.1 ± 0.8. Similar levels of inhibition to those observed in isolated SR vesicles were observed using reconstituted proteoliposomes following co-reconstitution of affinity-purified Ca-ATPase with PLB. These results indicate that total expression levels of one PLB per Ca-ATPase result in full inhibition of the Ca-ATPase and, based on the measured KD (140 ± 30 μM), suggests one PLB complexed with two Ca-ATPase molecules is sufficient for full inhibition of activity. Therefore, the excess PLB expressed in the heart over that required for inhibition suggests a capability for graded responses of the Ca-ATPase activity to endogenous kinases and phosphatases that modulate the level of phosphorylation necessary to relieve inhibition of the Ca-ATPase by PLB.