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Fifty-one chemicals including derivatives of 16 flavonoids, three stilbenes, six pyrenes, seven naphthalenes, seven phenanthrenes, 10 biphenyls, 17beta-estradiol, and estrone were examined for their abilities to induce reverse type I binding spectra with human cytochrome P450 (P450) 1B1 and to inhibit 7-ethoxyresorufin O-deethylation (EROD) activities catalyzed by P450 1B1. Forty-nine chemicals showed reverse type I spectra with P450 1B1, and we found that 3,5,7-trihydroxyflavone, 3',4'-dimethoxy-5,7-dihydroxyflavone, 4'-methoxy-5,7-dihydroxyflavone, alpha- and beta-naphthoflavones, 2,4,3',5'-tetramethoxystilbene, pyrene, and several acetylenic pyrenes and phenanthrenes were strong inducers of the spectra and also potent inhibitors of EROD activities catalyzed by P450 1B1. The spectral dissociation constant (K(s)) and the magnitude of the binding (DeltaA(max)/K(s)) of 49 chemicals were correlated with the inhibition potencies of EROD activities by these chemicals [correlation coefficients (r) of 0.72 and 0.74, respectively]. The K(s) and DeltaA(max)/K(s) values were more correlated with IC(50) values when compared in a group of derivatives of flavonoids, stilbenes, and estrogens (r = 0.81 and 0.88, respectively) or a group of derivatives of pyrenes, naphthalenes, phenanthrenes, and biphenyls (r = 0.88 and 0.91, respectively). Among 14 flavonoids examined, 3,5,7-trihydroxyflavone and 4'-methoxy- and 3',4'-dimethoxy-5,7-dihydroxyflavone were more active than flavone in interacting with P450 1B1, but the respective 7,8-dihydroxyflavones were less active. Pyrene itself was highly active in interacting with P450 1B1, but its binding was slightly decreased when substituted with acetylenic groups. In contrast, substitution of naphthalene with methyl and ethyl propargyl ethers led to more interaction with P450 1B1 than with naphthalene itself. Similarly, substitution on phenanthrene or biphenyl with acetylenic groups and propargyl ethers increased affinities to P450 1B1. These results suggest that the reverse type I binding of chemicals to P450 1B1 may determine how they interact with and inhibit the catalytic activity of the enzyme. Substitutions on the compounds with various acetylenic groups and propargyl ethers cause an increase or decrease of their affinities to P450 1B1, depending on the parent compound used.