Two NADPH-dependent oxidoreductases catalyzing the enantioselective reduction of 3-oxo esters to (S)- and (R)-3-hydroxy acid esters, [hereafter called (S)- and (R)-enzymes] have been purified 121- and 332-fold, respectively, from cell extracts of Saccharomyces cerevisiae by means of streptomycin sulfate treatment, Sephadex G-25 filtration, DEAE-Sepharose CL-6B chromatography, Sephadex G-150 filtration, Sepharose 6B filtration and hydroxyapatite chromatography. The relative molecular mass Mr, of the (S)-enzyme was estimated to be 48,000-50,000 on Sephadex G-150 column chromatography and 48,000 on sodium dodecyl sulfate/polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The enzyme was most active at pH 6.9 and reduced 3-oxo esters, 4-oxo and 5-oxo acids and esters enantioselectively to (S)- hydroxy compounds in the presence of NADPH. The Km values for ethyl 3-oxobutyrate, ethyl 3-oxohexanoate, 4-oxopentanoic and 5-oxohexanoic acid were determined as 0.9 mM, 5.3 mM, 17.1 mM and 13.1 mM, respectively. The Mr of the (R)-enzyme, estimated by means of column chromatography on Sepharose 6B, was 800,000. Under dissociating conditions of SDS/polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis the enzyme resolved into subunits of Mr 200,000 and 210,000, respectively. The enzyme is optimally active at pH 6.1, catalyzing specifically the reduction of 3-oxo esters to (R)-hydroxy esters, using NADPH for coenzyme. Km values for ethyl 3-oxobutyrate and ethyl 3-oxohexanoate were determined as 17.0 mM and 2.0 mM, respectively. Investigations with purified fatty acid synthase of baker's yeast revealed that the (R)-enzyme was identical with a subunit of this multifunctional complex; intact fatty acid synthase (Mr 2.4 X 10(6)) showed no activity in catalyzing the reduction of 3-oxo esters.