The amino acids of cytochrome P450 reductase involved in the interaction with cytochrome P450 were identified with a differential labeling technique. The water-soluble carbodiimide EDC (1-ethyl-3-[3- (dimethylamino)propyl]-carbodiimide) was used with the nucleophile methylamine to modify carboxyl residues. When the modification was performed in the presence of cytochrome P450, there was no inhibition in the ability of the modified reductase to bind to cytochrome P450. However, subsequent modification of the reductase in the absence of cytochrome P450 caused a fourfold increase in the Km and an 80% decrease in kcat/Km (relative to the reductase modified in the first step), for the interaction with cytochrome P450. These effects are attributed to the modification of approximately 3.2 mol of carboxyl residues per mole of reductase. Tryptic peptides generated from the modified reductase were purified by reverse phase high-performance liquid chromatography and characterized. Amino acid sequencing and analysis suggest that the peptide which contains approximately 40% of the labeled carboxyl residues corresponds to amino acid residues 109-130 of rat liver NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase. One or more of the seven carboxyl containing amino acids within this peptide is presumably involved in the interaction with cytochrome P450.