Cell extracts of Pseudomonas aeruginosa 142, which was previously isolated from a polychlorinated biphenyl-degrading consortium, were shown to degrade 2,4-dichlorobenzoate, 2-chlorobenzoate, and a variety of other substituted ortho-halobenzoates by a reaction that requires oxygen, NADH, Fe(II), and flavin adenine dinucleotide. By using extracts that were chromatographically depleted of chlorocatechol and catechol 1,2-dioxygenase activities, products of the initial reaction with 2,4- or 2,5-dichlorobenzoate and 2-chlorobenzoate were identified by mass spectrometry as 4-chlorocatechol and catechol. In contrast to the well-characterized benzoate dioxygenases or the recently described 2-halobenzoate 1,2-dioxygenase from P. cepacia 2CBS (S. Fetzner, R. Müller, and F. Lingens, J. Bacteriol. 174:279-290, 1992) that possess two protein components, the P. aeruginosa enzyme was resolved by ion-exchange chromatography into three components, each of which is required for activity. To verify the distinct nature of this enzyme, we purified, characterized, and identified one component as a ferredoxin (M(r), approximately 13,000) containing a single [2Fe-2S] Rieske-type cluster (electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopic values of gx = 1.82, gy = 1.905, and gz = 2.02 in the reduced state) that is related in sequence to ferredoxins found in the naphthalene and biphenyl three-component dioxygenase systems. By analogy to these enzymes, we propose that the P. aeruginosa ferredoxin serves as an electron carrier between an NADH-dependent ferredoxin reductase and the terminal component of the ortho-halobenzoate 1,2-dioxygenase. The broad specificity and high regiospecificity of the enzyme make it a promising candidate for use in the degradation of mixtures of chlorobenzoates.