CYP1A is known to play important roles in the metabolism, detoxification and bioactivation of carcinogens and other xenobiotics in animals including fish. In our laboratory, CYP1A1 was obtained in a highly purified form with a specific content of 15-17 nmol P450 per mg protein from liver microsomes of feral fish, leaping mullet (Liza saliens). Purified mullet CYP1A1 showed a very high substrate specificities for 7-ethoxyresorufin and 7-methoxyresorufin in a reconstituted system containing purified fish P450 reductase and lipid. In addition, effects of each individual components of the reconstituted system, i.e., CYP1A1 and P450 reductase on 7-methoxyresorufin O-demethylase (MROD) activity were studied. 7-ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase (EROD) activity was strongly inhibited by alpha-naphthoflavone (ANF). At 0.5 and 2.5 microM. ANF inhibited EROD activity by 90 and 98%, respectively. Mullet CYP1A1 did not catalyze monooxygenations of other substrates such as aniline, ethylmorphine, N-nitrosodimethylamine and p-nitrophenol. Antibodies produced against CYP1A1 orthologues in fish such as trout and scup showed strong cross-reactivity with the purified mullet CYP1A1. In addition, anti-L. saliens liver CYP1A1 produced in our laboratory inhibited both the EROD and MROD activities catalyzed by L. saliens liver microsomes but stronger inhibition was observed with EROD activity. On the other hand, anti-mullet CYP1A1 antibodies showed very weak cross-reactivity with two proteins (presumably CYP1A1 and CYP1A2) in 3MC-treated rat liver microsomes. Moreover, 3MC-treated rat liver microsomal EROD activity was weakly inhibited by the anti-L. saliens liver CYP1A1. These results strongly suggested that the purified mullet CYP1A1 is structurally, functionally and immunochemically similar to the CYP1A1 homologues purified from other teleost species but functionally and immunochemically distinct from mammalian CYP1A1.