Operation of the branched-chain 2-hydroxy acid/2-oxo acid shuttle for the transfer of reducing equivalents in mitochondria of mouse spermatozoa was studied in vitro in reconstituted systems. Results show that the branched-chain 2-oxo acids within the mitochondria are offered several metabolic pathways. (a) Decarboxylation: mouse sperm mitochondria possess high branched-chain 2-oxo acid decarboxylase activity. (b) Recycling to the cytosol by using a transport system which can be inhibited by alpha-cyano-3-hydroxycinnamate and pH 6.8. (c) Transamination to the corresponding amino acids: experiments presented indicate that leucine formed from 4-methyl-2-oxopentanoate may pass to the external phase, re-initiating the cycle. These two last possibilities would allow autocatalytic operation of the shuttle. The branched-chain 2-hydroxy acids apparently do not utilize the monocarboxylate carrier to penetrate the mitochondria.