By using an assay based on the precipitation of intact 14C-labelled substrate, an activity has been located in the mitochondrial fraction of rat liver which selectively hydrolyses the 3' ester link in the fairly recently discovered oligomeric tetraphosphate derivative of ATP and glyceric acid for which the structure 3-phospho[glyceroyl-gamma-triphospho-5'-adenosine-3'-3-phospho]n-glyceroyl- gamma-triphospho-5'-adenosine has been proposed [Hutchinson, Morris & Mowbray (1986) Biochem. J. 234, 623-627]. This enzyme activity (Mr 85,000) has been purified approx. 30-fold from washed mitochondria by (NH4)2SO4 precipitation and f.p.l.c. The apparent Km for substrate (adenosine equivalents) is around 35 microM. The recovery of total activity is about 20%, and this, allied to the relatively low Vmax. found in contrast with the rapid turnover of oligomer seen in post-ischaemic tissues, suggests that some activating factors have been lost in purification. Percoll-gradient studies confirm that the activity is mitochondrial and not lysosomal or endoplasmic-reticular. The activity is latent in intact mitochondria; it is not, however, associated with intact inner-membrane vesicles but released during their preparation, implying an intermembrane-space location. The product of the enzyme is proposed to be the monomeric unit 3-phosphoglyceroyl-gamma-triphospho-5'-adenosine, from which digestion with snake-venom phosphodiesterase releases ADP.