The cytochrome c reductase complexes from fungi and mammals both contain a 14-kD protein (yeast, 14.4 kD; bovine, 13.4 kD) that does not directly participate in electron transfer but possibly is indirectly involved in the function of the complex and has a role in assembly of the multimeric enzyme. A subunit of comparable size was identified for the bc1 complex of higher plants. The 14-kD protein from potato (Solanum tuberosum) was specifically separated from the isolated protein complex in the presence of 6 M urea and is, therefore, assumed to be a peripheral component. Direct sequence analysis of the proteins from potato and wheat (Triticum aestivum) and isolation of corresponding cDNA clones for the subunit from potato revealed clear similarity to the equivalent proteins from yeast and bovine. The wheat 14-kD protein seems to occur in two isoforms. The 14-kD protein from plants is very hydrophilic, has a characteristic charge distribution, and contains no potential membrane-spanning helices. In vitro import of the radiolabeled 14-kD protein from potato into isolated mitochondria depends on the membrane potential across the inner mitochondrial membrane. The protein seems to lack a cleavable mitochondrial presequence, because it is not processed upon translocation. Possible intramolecular regions involved in targeting of the 14-kD protein to plant mitochondria are discussed.