The cDNA for a major component of the family of flavin-containing monooxygenases (FMOs) present in adult human liver (i.e., HLFMO-D) has been cloned and expressed in a prokaryotic system. Escherichia coli strain NM522 was transformed with pTrcHLFMO-D, and the HLFMO-D cDNA was expressed under the control of the Trc promoter. A variety of tertiary amine substrates [i.e., chlorpromazine and 10-[(N,N-dimethylamino)alkyl]- 2-(trifluoromethyl)phenothiazines] were efficiently oxygenated by HLFMO-D cDNA expressed in E. coli or by adult human liver microsomes. Approximate dimensions of the substrate binding channel for both adult human liver microsomal FMO and cDNA-expressed HLFMO-D were apparent from an examination of the N-oxygenation of a series of 10-[(N,N-dimethylamino)alkyl]-2-(trifluoromethyl)phenothiazines. The substrate regioselectivity studies suggest that adult human liver FMO form D possesses a distinct substrate specificity compared with form A FMO from animal hepatic sources. It is likely that the substrate specificity observed for cDNA-expressed adult human liver FMO-D may have consequences for the metabolism and distribution of tertiary amines and phosphorus- and sulfur-containing drugs in humans and may provide insight into the physiologic substrate(s) for adult human liver FMO.