AU-rich elements function as instability elements which direct rapid mRNA degradation. AUH protein exhibits an AU-specific RNA-binding property and an intrinsic enoyl-CoA hydratase activity and may therefore function to link mRNA decay to metabolic processes (. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 92, 2051-2055). The sequence encoding the murine protein, muAUH, was established by cloning, and the corresponding polypeptide predicted to have a molecular mass of 37kDa. As shown for the human protein, muAUH is expressed in a 32kDa form and there is 94% homology between the two species. Recombinant muAUH was shown to be an RNA-binding enoyl-CoA hydratase. All murine cells studied contained a single AUH transcript of approx. 1.7kb and an investigation of tissue-specific expression revealed highest levels in kidney, skeletal muscle, heart, liver and spleen. It was further determined, using immunoelectron microscopy, that AUH is located in the mitochondria of mouse cells.