Rats were treated with 3-methylcholanthrene (MC) and DT-diaphorase from liver was partially purified on an azodicoumarol-Sepharose 6B column and applied to an FPLC-chromatofocusing column in order to resolve isoforms. Six peaks showing significant DT-diaphorase activity were eluted from this column with a pH gradient between 7.30 to 4.80. The amino acid compositions of the two major peaks (II and VIb) were found to be nearly identical, suggesting existence of isoforms rather than isozymes of DT-diaphorase. The isoforms of DT-diaphorase showed broad substrate specificities towards four different quinones (menadione, vitamin K-1, benzo(a)pyrene 3,6-quinone and cyclized-dopamine ortho-quinone), although quantitative differences in the specific activities were also found. All isoforms are glycoproteins but contain different carbohydrates. Thus isoform II reacts with biotinylated lectins which are specific for N-acetylgalactosamine, mannose, fucose and galactosyl(beta-1,3)N-acetylgalactosamine, while isoform VIb reacts only with biotinylated lectins specific for mannose and N-acetylgalactosamine. Separation of DT-diaphorase isoforms from control rat liver cytosol using FPLC-chromatofocusing revealed that the induction of the isoforms is not uniform, since isform II was not found and the major isoform was composed of three peaks, whereas the major isoform of DT-diaphorase from liver cytosol of rats treated with 3-methylcholanthrene was composed of only two peaks.