Short-chain, medium-chain, and long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenases were purified to homogeneity from rat liver mitochondria by sequential chromatography on DEAE-Sephadex A-50, hydroxyapatite, Matrex Gel Blue A, agarose-hexane-CoA, and Bio-Gel A-0.5m. Molecular, immunological, and catalytic properties of the pure acyl-CoA dehydrogenases were investigated. The native molecular weights of these three enzymes were 160,000, 180,000, and 180,000, respectively. The subunit molecular weights of the three enzymes were estimated to be 41,000, 45,000, and 45,000, respectively, indicating that these enzymes are each composed of four subunits of equal size. The FAD content was calculated to be 1 mol/mol of subunit. While FAD binding by short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase was very tight, that by medium-chain acyl-CoA and long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenases was less tight. The medium- and long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenases were also purified to homogeneity as FAD-free apoenzymes. The apoenzymes were converted to the fully active holoenzymes by incubation with FAD. The three acyl-CoA dehydrogenases were immunologically distinct from each other, i.e. the antibodies raised against the individual enzymes were monospecific and did not cross-react with any other acyl-CoA dehydrogenases. Our preparations of the three enzymes exhibited substrate specificities (as defined in Vappmax and Kappmax) significantly more specific than those of the previous preparations isolated from other sources. The substrate specificities were assessed also by measuring the activities in mitochondrial sonicates after selectively precipitating each enzyme with their individual monospecific antibodies. Butyryl-CoA was almost exclusively dehydrogenated by short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase while C6-C10 acyl-CoAs were mainly dehydrogenated by medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase. C14-C22 acyl-CoAs were exclusively dehydrogenated by long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase. C24 acyl-CoAs were not dehydrogenated by this enzyme. Lauroyl-CoA appeared to be jointly dehydrogenated by the latter two enzymes. Branched-chain acyl-CoAs were not dehydrogenated by short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase. In the presence of electron-transfer flavoprotein or phenazine methosulfate, 2-enoyl-CoAs were identified as products from the corresponding enzyme/acyl-CoA reactions.