Liver tissues and fibroblasts from patients with propionic acidemia assigned to the pcc BC genetic complementation group have previously been shown to contain normal or near-normal quantities of structurally altered propionyl CoA carboxylases (PCC). Biochemical comparisons of PCCs from extracts of three livers and one placenta belonging to the pcc BC complementation group revealed that the Km values for the enzyme's major substrates, propionyl CoA, bicarbonate, and ATP, and its monovalent activator, potassium, were similar to those of normal PCC. PCC in extracts of one of the livers, however, had an altered isoelectric point (pI = 5.4) compared to that of PCC from normal and other PCC-deficient tissues (pK = 4.6-4.7). Thermostability in the presence of sucrose or ATP differed among several of the mutant PCCs, including the PCC with an altered pI, and from that of normal PCC. To confirm these results and to determine whether valid inferences may be derived from comparisons of mutant and normal PCC in crude extracts, PCC was purified from normal liver and from one of the PCC-deficient livers. The biochemical parameters of the purified carboxylases were similar to those observed in liver extracts. These studies furthermore confirmed that, whether purified or in extracts, PCC from the pcc BC group reflects structural mutations. Nevertheless, the abnormal enzyme structure appears to have no corresponding effect on the clinical features of the disorder in various affected individuals. Moreover, there is biochemical heterogeneity within the pcc BC complementation group that probably represents different interallelic gene mutations.