The metabolism of pyrene to hydroxypyrene by CYP3A4 was investigated to determine the effect of cytochrome b5 (b5) on turnover kinetics. In the absence of b5, formation of hydroxypyrene in in vitro incubations showed a biphasic substrate-velocity curve where K(m1) and V(max1) were 1.3 microM and 0.5 pmol/min/pmol P450, respectively. The addition of testosterone to the incubation mixture completely abolished the second phase to yield a typical, hyperbolic curve, presumably through the disruption in the formation of a pi-pi stacked pyrene complex within the CYP3A4 active site. Finally, the addition of b5 yielded an increase hydroxypyrene formation that resulted in a sigmoidal substrate velocity curve. The V(max) was 15.7 pmol/min/pmol P450, the K(m) was 7.5 microM, and the Hill coefficient was greater than two. This demonstrated that b5 could directly induce positive cooperativity on CYP3A4 and that this biological factor needs to be carefully considered when included in in vitro P450 reactions.