ATP-citrate lyase (EC 188.8.131.52) was purified to homogeneity from the liver of rats maintained on a diet containing no fat and high carbohydrate. The procedure involves two steps: dye-ligand chromatography on yellow MX-6G Sepharose CL-4B and ion-exchange chromatography on DEAE-Trisacryl. The specific activity of the enzyme was 10 mumol X min-1 X mg-1 at 25 degrees C, which is equal to the highest specific activity reported to date. The yield was also the highest reported to date, being in excess of 50%, and the enzyme isolated by this procedure has little proteolytic nicking. The pure enzyme was used to establish a coupled fluorometric assay for N-acetylglutamate synthetase (amino-acid acetyltransferase, EC 184.108.40.206) based on coupling coenzyme A production to the oxidation of NADH via ATP-citrate lyase and malate dehydrogenase. The method is easy to perform compared with existing methods and enables the measurement of 100 pmol X min-1 of N-acetylglutamate synthetase activity. The method is generally applicable for measurement of enzymes which produce coenzyme A. The fluorometric method was used to measure the Km for glutamate and acetyl coenzyme A at pH 7.0 and 25 degrees C, which were 8.2 and 0.4 mM, respectively. Arginine at 1 microM gave half-maximal activation of N-acetylglutamate synthetase.