The basis for our previous observations [Kaminsky, L.S., Guengerich, F.P., Dannan, G.A. & Aust, S.D. (1983) Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 225, 398-404] that rates of microsomal metabolism of warfarin were markedly less than the sum of rates of the reconstituted constituent isozymes of cytochrome P-450 has been investigated. Metabolism of warfarin to 4'-, 6-, 7-, 8-, and 10-hydroxywarfarin and dehydrowarfarin by highly purified rat liver cytochrome P-450 (P-450) isozymes reconstituted with NADPH-cytochrome P-450 reductase and by hepatic microsomes from variously pretreated rats was used to probe functional consequences of P-450 isozyme/isozyme interactions and of the effect of microsomal reductase concentrations. Binary mixtures of P-450 isozymes were reconstituted and the regioselectivity and stereoselectivity were used to probe metabolism by each individual isozyme. The isozymes specifically inhibited each other to variable extents and the order of inhibitory potency was: P-450UT-F greater than P-450PB-D greater than or equal to P-450UT-A greater than or equal to P-450BNF/ISF-G greater than P-450PB/PCN-E greater than P-450PB-B greater than or equal to P-450PB-C greater than or equal to P-450BNF-B. The inhibition, possibly a consequence of aggregation, explains the low rate of microsomal metabolism relative to the metabolic potential of the component P-450 isozymes. When purified reductase was added to microsomes it appeared to bind to microsomes at different sites from endogenous reductase and it enhanced warfarin hydroxylase activity only to a minor extent, thus possibly precluding low reductase concentrations from being a major factor in the relatively low rates of microsomal metabolism. Antibody to the reductase differentially inhibited microsomal metabolism of warfarin by the various P-450 isozymes. The results suggest that the reductase and P-450 isozymes may be located differently relative to one another in the various microsomal preparations.