The substrate specificities of dynein, kinesin, and myosin substrate turnover activity and cytoskeletal filament-driven translocation were examined using 15 ATP analogues. The dyneins were more selective in their substrate utilization than bovine brain kinesin or muscle heavy meromyosin, and even different types of dyneins, such as 14S and 22S dynein from Tetrahymena cilia and the beta-heavy chain-containing particle from the outer-arm dynein of sea urchin flagella, could be distinguished by their substrate specificities. Although bovine brain kinesin and muscle heavy meromyosin both exhibited broad substrate specificities, kinesin-induced microtubule translocation varied over a 50-fold range in speed among the various substrates, whereas heavy meromyosin-induced actin translocation varied only by fourfold. With both kinesin and heavy meromyosin, the relative velocities of filament translocation did not correlate well with the relative filament-activated substrate turnover rates. Furthermore, some ATP analogues that did not support the filament translocation exhibited filament-activated substrate turnover rates. Filament-activated substrate turnover and power production, therefore, appear to become uncoupled with certain substrates. In conclusion, the substrate specificities and coupling to motility are distinct for different types of molecular motor proteins. Such nucleotide "fingerprints" of enzymatic activities of motor proteins may prove useful as a tool for identifying what type of motor is involved in powering a motility-related event that can be reconstituted in vitro.