Human PICD was identified by homology probing the data base of expressed sequence tags with the protein sequence of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Idp3p, a peroxisomal NADP(+)-dependent isocitrate dehydrogenase. The human PICD cDNA contains a 1242-base pair open reading frame, and its deduced protein sequence is 59% identical to yeast Idp3p. Expression of PICD partially rescued the fatty acid growth defect of the yeast idp3 deletion mutant suggesting that PICD is functionally homologous to Idp3p. Kinetic studies on bacterially expressed PICD demonstrated that this enzyme catalyzed the oxidative decarboxylation of isocitrate to 2-oxoglutarate with a specific activity of 22.5 units/mg and that PICD displayed K(M) values of 76 microM for isocitrate and 112 microM for NADP(+). In subcellular fractionation experiments, we found PICD in both peroxisomes and cytoplasm of human and rat liver cells, with approximately 27% of total PICD protein associated with peroxisomes. The presence of PICD in mammalian peroxisomes suggests roles in the regeneration of NADPH for intraperoxisomal reductions, such as the conversion of 2, 4-dienoyl-CoAs to 3-enoyl-CoAs, as well as in peroxisomal reactions that consume 2-oxoglutarate, namely the alpha-hydroxylation of phytanic acid. As for cytoplasmic PICD, the phenotypes of patients with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (Luzzatto, L., and Mehta, A. (1995) in The Metabolic and Molecular Bases of Inherited Disease (Scriver, C. R., Beaudet, A. L., Sly, W. S., and Valle, D., eds) Vol. 3, 7th Ed., pp. 3367-3398, McGraw-Hill Inc., New York) suggest that PICD serves a significant role in cytoplasmic NADPH production, particularly under conditions that do not favor the use of the hexose monophosphate shunt (Luzzatto et al.).