The nucleotide sequence of a cDNA that codes for the major phenobarbital (PB)-inducible male beagle dog hepatic cytochrome P450 has been determined. Using a rabbit P450IIB cDNA probe (R. Gasser, M. Negishi, and R. M. Philpot, 1988, Mol. Pharmacol, 32, 22-30), a cDNA clone with a 2.6-kilobase pair insert was isolated from a lambda gt11 library prepared from hepatic mRNA from a PB-treated dog. The cloned insert was sequenced and found to contain an open reading frame coding for a polypeptide of 494 amino acids (Mr 56,183). The encoded protein can be assigned to the P450IIB subfamily on the basis of homology to cytochromes P450 from other species. The deduced amino acid sequence is 79% identical to that reported for rabbit P450 BO (P450IIB4) and 75% identical to that for rat P450b (P450IIB1). The sequence identity decreases to less than 52% when the dog sequence is compared with other P450II subfamilies. The deduced NH2-terminal 30 amino acids encoded by the dog cDNA are identical to those determined by sequence analysis of purified dog cytochrome P450 PBD-2, and the amino acid composition concurs with that determined for the PBD-2 protein (D. B. Duignan, I. G. Sipes, T. B. Leonard, and J. R. Halpert, 1987, Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 255, 290-303). Northern blots revealed two mRNA species of approximately 1.9 and 2.9 kilobases in length, which hybridized to the coding region of the dog P450IIB cDNA. The level of total hybridizable mRNA was increased approximately sixfold in livers from PB-treated dogs compared with that in untreated animals. This increase correlates well with the reported nearly sixfold increase in the level of PBD-2 protein and the fivefold increase in the rate of hepatic metabolism of 2,2',4,4',5,5'-hexachlorobiphenyl following PB treatment. The two mRNA species may result from the use of different polyadenylation signals located in the 3'-noncoding region or from transcription of more than one gene for PBD-2. Southern blot analysis indicated that the dog P450IIB subfamily contains at least two closely related genes.