The quinone oxidoreductases [NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase1 (NQO1) and NRH:quinone oxidoreductase2 (NQO2)] are flavoproteins. NQO1 is known to catalyse metabolic detoxification of quinones and protect cells from redox cycling, oxidative stress and neoplasia. NQO2 is a 231 amino acid protein (25956 mw) that is 43 amino acids shorter than NQO1 at its carboxy-terminus. The human NQO2 cDNA and protein are 54 and 49% similar to the human liver cytosolic NQO1 cDNA and protein. Recent studies have revealed that NQO2 differs from NQO1 in its cofactor requirement. NQO2 uses dihydronicotinamide riboside (NRH) rather than NAD(P)H as an electron donor. Another difference between NQO1 and NQO2 is that NQO2 is resistant to typical inhibitors of NQO1, such as dicoumarol, Cibacron blue and phenindone. Flavones, including quercetin and benzo(a)pyrene, are known inhibitors of NQO2. Even though overlapping substrate specificities have been observed for NQO1 and NQO2, significant differences exist in relative affinities for the various substrates. Analysis of the crystal structure of NQO2 revealed that NQO2 contains a specific metal binding site, which is not present in NQO1. The human NQO2 gene has been precisely localized to chromosome 6p25. The human NQO2 gene locus is highly polymorphic. The NQO2 gene is ubiquitously expressed and induced in response to TCDD. Nucleotide sequence analysis of the NQO2 gene promoter revealed the presence of several cis-elements, including SP1 binding sites, CCAAT box, xenobiotic response element (XRE) and an antioxidant response element (ARE). The complement of these elements regulates tissue specific expression and induction of the NQO2 gene in response to xenobiotics and antioxidants. The in vivo role of NQO2 and its role in quinone detoxification remains unknown.