Acetate has been found as an endogenous metabolite of beta-oxidation of fatty acids in liver. In order to investigate the regulation of acetate generation in liver mitochondria, we attempted to purify a mitochondrial acetyl-CoA hydrolase in rat liver. This acetyl-CoA-hydrolyzing activity in isolated mitochondria was induced by the treatment of rats with di(2-ehtylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), a peroxisome proliferator which induces expression of several peroxisomal and mitochondrial enzymes involved in beta-oxidation of fatty acids. The purified enzyme was 43-kDa in molecular mass by SDS/PAGE. Internal amino acid sequencing of this enzyme revealed that it was identical with mitochondrial 3-ketoacyl-CoA thiolase, suggesting that this enzyme has two kinds of activities, 3-ketoacyl-CoA thiolase and acetyl-CoA hydrolase activities. Kinetic studies clearly indicated that this enzyme had the both activities and each activity was inhibited by the substrates of the other activity, that is, 3-ketoacyl-CoA thiolase activity was inhibited by acetyl-CoA, on the other hand, acetyl-CoA hydrolase activity was inhibited by acetoacetyl-CoA in a competitive manner. These findings suggested that acetate generation in liver mitochondria is a side reaction of this known enzyme, 3-ketoacyl-CoA thiolase, and this enzyme may regulate its activities depending on each substrate level.