Abstract Ustilago maydis mitochondria contain the four classical components of the electron transport chain (complexes I, II, III, and IV), a glycerol phosphate dehydrogenase, and two alternative elements: an external rotenone-insensitive flavone-sensitive NADH dehydrogenase (NDH-2) and an alternative oxidase (AOX). The external NDH-2 contributes as much as complex I to the NADH-dependent respiratory activity, and is not modulated by Ca 2+, a regulatory mechanism described for plant NDH-2, and presumed to be a unique characteristic of the external isozyme. The AOX accounts for the 20% residual respiratory activity after inhibition of complex IV by cyanide. This residual activity depends on growth conditions, since cells grown in the presence of cyanide or antimycin A increase its proportion to about 75% of the uninhibited rate. The effect of AMP, pyruvate and DTT on AOX was studied. The activity of AOX in U. maydis cells was sensitive to AMP but not to pyruvate, which agrees with the regulatory characteristics of a fungal AOX. Interestingly, the presence of DTT during cell permeabilisation protected the enzyme against inactivation. The pathways of quinone reduction and quinol oxidation lack an additive behavior. This is consistent with the competition of the respiratory components of each pathway for the quinol/quinone pool.