Incorporation of labeled deoxynucleoside triphosphates into mtDNA by isolated rat liver mitochondria has been shown previously to reflect DNA replication. We have used this system to seek evidence for a mtDNA gyrase. Coumermycin, novobiocin, nalidixic acid, and oxolinic acid are known to be inhibitors of Escherichia coli gyrase, to inhibit E. coli DNA replication, to abolish colicin E1 replication, and to depress the supercoiling of phage lambda DNA, the last two via inhibition of the DNA gyrase. Our results show that these agents inhibit [3H]dATP incorporation into bulk mtDNA at concentrations similar to those used for E. coli. Analysis by sucrose gradient sedimentation confirms the inhibition and shows further that the synthesis of the highly supercoiled form of mtDNA (i.e. 39 S DNA) is depressed relative to other mtDNA forms (i.e. 27 S DNA), suggesting an inhibition of the supercoiling process. Analysis of the DNA by CsCl/propidium diiodide centrifugation shows, in addition, that incubation with coumermycin results in the appearance of a mtDNA form shown to be relaxed mtDNA. The results are consistent with the occurrence of a mtDNA gyrase and its operation in mtDNA replication.