Characterisation of the Arabidopsis dbr5 mutant, which was isolated on the basis of 2,4-dichlorophenoxybutyric acid (2,4-DB) resistance, revealed that it is disrupted in the CHY1 gene. CHY1 encodes a peroxisomal protein that is 43% identical to the mammalian beta-hydroxyisobutryl-CoA hydrolase of valine catabolism. We show that 2,4-DB resistance and the associated sucrose dependent seedling growth are due to a large activity decrease of 3-ketoacyl-CoA thiolase, which is involved in peroxisomal fatty acid beta-oxidation. (14)C-feeding studies demonstrate that dbr5 and chy1 seedlings are reduced in valine catabolism. These data support the hypothesis that CHY1 plays a key role in peroxisomal valine catabolism and that disruption of this enzyme results in accumulation of a toxic intermediate, methacrylyl-CoA, that inhibits 3-ketoacyl-CoA thiolase activity and thus blocks peroxisomal beta-oxidation. We also show that CHY1 is repressed in seedlings grown on sugars, which suggests that branched chain amino acid catabolism is transcriptionally regulated by nutritional status.