The olefinic barbiturate secobarbital (SB) is a sedative hypnotic known to be a relatively selective mechanism-based inactivator of rat liver cytochrome P450 2B1. Previous studies have demonstrated that such inactivation results in prosthetic heme destruction and irreversible drug-induced protein modification, events most likely triggered by P450 2B1-dependent oxidative activation of the olefinic pi-bond. However, the precise structure of the SB-modified heme and/or the protein site targeted for attack remained to be elucidated. We have now isolated the SB-heme adduct from P450 2B1 inactivated by [14C]SB in a functionally reconstituted system and structurally characterized it by electronic absorption spectroscopy and tandem collision-induced dissociation (CID), matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization on time of flight (MALDI-TOF), and liquid secondary ion mass spectrometry in the positive mode (+ LSIMS) as the N-(5-(2-hydroxypropyl)-5-(1-methylbutyl)barbituric acid)protoporphyrin IX adduct. The [14C]SB-modified 2B1 protein has also been isolated from similar inactivation systems and subjected to lysyl endopeptidase C (Lys-C) digestion and HPLC-peptide mapping. A [14C]SB-modified 2B1 peptide was thus isolated, purified, electrotransferred onto a poly-(vinylidene) membrane, and identified by micro Edman degradation of its first N-terminal 17 residues (S277NH(H)TEFH(H)ENLMISLL293) as the Lys-C peptide domain comprised of amino acids 277-323. This peptide thus includes the peptide domain corresponding to the distal helix I of P450 101, a region highly conserved through evolution, and which is known not only to flank the heme moiety but also to intimately contact the substrates. This finding thus suggests that SB-induced protein modification of P450 2B1 also occurs at the active site and, together with heme N-alkylation, contributes to the SB-induced mechanism-based inactivation of P450 2B1.