Acylcoenzyme A:estradiol-17 beta acyltransferase in microsomes of bovine placenta cotyledons was strongly membrane bound. The enzyme was solubilised from microsomes by sodium cholate and was reconstituted into phospholipid vesicles. The apparent Km for estradiol-17 beta was 11 microM which was close to the value of 8 microM previously found with the membrane-bound enzyme. Testosterone was also a substrate for the reconstituted enzyme (apparent Km 62 microM) and was a competitive inhibitor (Ki 74 microM) of the acylation of estradiol-17 beta. Although various long-chained fatty acyl CoAs acted as acyl donors, these proved to have widely differing apparent Km values with palmitoleoyl CoA having the highest affinity (Km 24 microM) and arachidonoyl CoA the lowest affinity (Km 330 microM).