Hepatic microsomes of Aroclor 1254-treated Mugil capito showed a single protein band detected in immunoblot with monoclonal antibody 1-12-3 to teleost (scup) CYP1A. The hepatic CYP1A like protein was induced with dose dependency after exposure of the fish to ?-naphthoflavone (BNF) as well as to Aroclor 1254. The induced mullet hepatic CYP1A protein was confined to a distinct fraction obtained by DE-52 anion exchange chromatography, and its relative content in that fraction increased in fish that were treated with higher doses of inducer. EROD (7-ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase) activity in hepatic microsomes from mullet treated with various doses of BNF correlated significantly (r(2)=0.81502, P<0.01) with CYP1A content. Treatment of the mullet with low dose of Aroclor 1254 (25 mg/kg) induced only traces of CYP1A in liver microsomes (5.1±4.8 mg/kg). However, in mullet treated with the high dose of Aroclor 1254 (100 mg/kg) there was a dramatic induction in CYP1A content (408±275 pmol/mg) and this hemoprotein comprised about 83% of the total P-450 content of liver microsomes. The total level of P-450, although induced in the liver tissue, was not induced in heart tissue of Aroclor 1254 treated mullet. On the other hand, P-4501A was induced in treated mullet to a level that comprised almost all of the cardiac P-450 content. EROD activity in the heart tissue of induced mullet was characterized by low V(max) and high K(m) values (K(m)=2.35 mM, V(max)=39.5 pmol/min per mg) compared to the values recorded for the enzyme from the liver (K(m)=1.0 mM, V(max)=288.0 pmol/min per mg). Cardiac CYP1A with low catalytic activity and repression of CYP-types other then CYP1A in heart of CYP1A induced fish may be part of a mechanism aimed to preserve crucial levels of electron donors and molecular oxygen in cardiac muscle of fish exposed to CYP1A inducers.