A full length cDNA encoding a new cytochrome P450-dependent fatty acid hydroxylase (CYP94A5) was isolated from a tobacco cDNA library. CYP94A5 was expressed in S. cerevisiae strain WAT11 containing a P450 reductase from Arabidopsis thaliana necessary for catalytic activity of cytochrome P450 enzymes. When incubated for 10 min in presence of NADPH with microsomes of recombinant yeast, 9,10-epoxystearic acid was converted into one major metabolite identified by GC/MS as 18-hydroxy-9,10-epoxystearic acid. The kinetic parameters of the reaction were Km,app = 0.9 +/- 0.2 microM and Vmax,app = 27 +/- 1 nmol x min(-1) x nmol(-1) P450. Increasing the incubation time to 1 h led to the formation of a compound identified by GC/MS as 9,10-epoxy-octadecan-1,18-dioic acid. The diacid was also produced in microsomal incubations of 18-hydroxy-9,10-epoxystearic acid. Metabolites were not produced in incubations with microsomes of yeast transformed with a control plasmid lacking CYP94A5 and their production was inhibited by antibodies raised against the P450 reductase, demonstrating the involvement of CYP94A5 in the reactions. The present study describes a cytochrome P450 able to catalyze the complete set of reactions oxidizing a terminal methyl group to the corresponding carboxyl. This new fatty acid hydroxylase is enantioselective: after incubation of a synthetic racemic mixture of 9,10-epoxystearic acid, the chirality of the residual epoxide was 40/60 in favor of 9R,10S enantiomer. CYP94A5 also catalyzed the omega-hydroxylation of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids with aliphatic chain ranging from C12 to C18.