NAD(P)H dehydrogenase ('DT-diaphorase', EC 184.108.40.206) and vitamin K epoxidase were removed by affinity chromatography from detergent-solubilized microsomal fractions. Thereby the microsomal fractions normally carrying out vitamin K1-dependent carboxylation of the microsomal precursor proteins of the prothrombin complex were inactivated. Purified NAD(P)H dehydrogenase added to this system restored carboxylation in the presence of vitamin K1 (2-methyl-3-phytyl-1,4-naphthoquinone) plus NADH. Vitamin K1 hydroquinone (2-methyl-3-phytyl-1,4-naphthoquinol) had no effect, in contrast with its effect in the intact system, where it can substitute for vitamin K1 plus NADH. The ability of NAD(P)H dehydrogenase to restore carboxylation in a system without vitamin K epoxidase activity shows that there is no obligatory coupling of the vitamin K1-dependent carboxylation with vitamin K1 epoxidation. These results suggest that the form of vitamin K1 that is active in the carboxylation reaction can be produced independently in two reactions: by NAD(P)H dehydrogenase in the reduction of the quinone and by vitamin K epoxidase in the epoxidation of the hydroquinone.