Between the different types of Acyl-CoA dehydrogenases (ACADs), those specific for branched chain acyl-CoA derivatives are involved in the catabolism of amino acids. In mammals, isovaleryl-CoA dehydrogenase (IVD), an enzyme of the leucine catabolic pathway, is a mitochondrial protein, as other acyl-CoA dehydrogenases involved in fatty acid beta-oxidation. In plants, fatty acid beta-oxidation takes place mainly in peroxisomes, and the cellular location of the enzymes involved in the catabolism of branched-chain amino acids had not been definitely assigned. Here, we describe that highly purified potato mitochondria have important IVD activity. The enzyme was partially purified and cDNAs from two different genes were obtained. The partially purified enzyme has enzymatic constant values with respect to isovaleryl-CoA comparable to those of the mammalian enzyme. It is not active towards straight-chain acyl-CoA substrates tested, but significant activity was also found with isobutyryl-CoA, implying an additional role of the enzyme in the catabolism of valine. The present study confirms recent reports that in plants IVD activity resides in mitochondria and opens the way to a more detailed study of amino-acid catabolism in plant development.