Ethylene gas is used as a hormone by plants, in which it acts as a critical growth regulator. Its synthesis is also rapidly evoked in response to a variety of biotic and abiotic stresses. The Arabidopsis ethylene-overproducer mutants eto2 and eto3 have previously been identified as having mutations in two genes, ACS5 and ACS9, respectively; these encode isozymes of 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid synthase (ACS), which catalyse the rate-limiting step in ethylene biosynthesis. Here we report that another ethylene-overproducer mutation, eto1, is in a gene that negatively regulates ACS activity and ethylene production. The ETO1 protein directly interacts with and inhibits the enzyme activity of full-length ACS5 but not of a truncated form of the enzyme, resulting in a marked accumulation of ACS5 protein and ethylene. Overexpression of ETO1 inhibited induction of ethylene production by the plant growth regulator cytokinin, and promoted ACS5 degradation by a proteasome-dependent pathway. ETO1 also interacts with CUL3, a constituent of ubiquitin ligase complexes in which we propose that ETO1 serves as a substrate-specific adaptor protein. ETO1 thus has a dual mechanism, inhibiting ACS enzyme activity and targeting it for protein degradation. This permits rapid modulation of the concentration of ethylene.