In plants the degradation pathways of branched-chain amino acids have remained somewhat unclear with respect to both their biochemistry and their intracellular location. While biochemical evidence has localized some of the catabolic enzymes in peroxisomes/glyoxysomes, others cofractionate with mitochondria. We have now identified a candidate protein and corresponding cDNA for an enzyme of the leucine catabolic pathway, the isovaleryl-CoA-dehydrogenase (IVD). This polypeptide is a member of the acyl-CoA-dehydrogenase (ACDH) family and is encoded in the nuclear genome of Arabidopsis thaliana. Expression of the putative IVD gene in pea seedlings is documented by western blot analyses with an antibody against the mammalian IVD. Subcellular fractionation identifies the putative IVD enzyme in the mitochondrion. This localization suggests that in plants mitochondria contain at least part of the branched-chain amino acid degradation pathway(s).