L-Methylmalonyl-CoA mutase (MCM, EC 188.8.131.52) is a mitochondrial adenosylcobalamin-requiring enzyme that catalyzes the isomerization of L-methylmalonyl-CoA to succinyl-CoA. This enzyme is deficient in methylmalonic acidemia, an often fatal disorder of organic acid metabolism. Antibody against human placental MCM was used to screen human placenta and liver cDNA expression libraries for MCM cDNA clones. One clone expressed epitopes that could affinity-purify antibodies against MCM. A cDNA corresponding in length to the mRNA was obtained and introduced into COS cells by DNA-mediated gene transfer. Cells transformed with this clone expressed increased levels of MCM enzymatic activity. RNA blot analysis of cells genetically deficient in MCM indicates that several deficient cell lines have a specific decrease in the amount of hybridizable mRNA. These data confirm the authenticity of the MCM cDNA clone, establish the feasibility of constituting MCM activity by gene transfer for biochemical analysis and gene therapy, and provide a preliminary picture of the genotypic spectrum underlying MCM deficiency.