Cytochrome P450s (P450) play a key role in oxidative reactions in plant secondary metabolism. Some of them, which catalyze unique reactions other than the standard hydroxylation, increase the structural diversity of plant secondary metabolites. In isoquinoline alkaloid biosyntheses, several unique P450 reactions have been reported, such as methylenedioxy bridge formation, intramolecular C-C phenol-coupling and intermolecular C-O phenol-coupling reactions. We report here the isolation and characterization of a C-C phenol-coupling P450 cDNA (CYP80G2) from an expressed sequence tag library of cultured Coptis japonica cells. Structural analysis showed that CYP80G2 had high amino acid sequence similarity to Berberis stolonifera CYP80A1, an intermolecular C-O phenol-coupling P450 involved in berbamunine biosynthesis. Heterologous expression in yeast indicated that CYP80G2 had intramolecular C-C phenol-coupling activity to produce (S)-corytuberine (aporphine-type) from (S)-reticuline (benzylisoquinoline type). Despite this intriguing reaction, recombinant CYP80G2 showed typical P450 properties: its C-C phenol-coupling reaction required NADPH and oxygen and was inhibited by a typical P450 inhibitor. Based on a detailed substrate-specificity analysis, this unique reaction mechanism and substrate recognition were discussed. CYP80G2 may be involved in magnoflorine biosynthesis in C. japonica, based on the fact that recombinant C. japonica S-adenosyl-L-methionine:coclaurine N-methyltransferase could convert (S)-corytuberine to magnoflorine.