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The CYP monooxygenase, CYP2B12, is the first identified skin-specific cytochrome P450 enzyme. It is characterized by high, constitutive expression in an extrahepatic tissue, the sebaceous glands of cutaneous tissues. It is expressed exclusively in a subset of differentiated keratinocytes called sebocytes, as demonstrated by Northern blot analysis, in situ hybridization, and polymerase chain reaction. The onset of its expression coincides with the morphological appearance of sebaceous glands in the neonatal rat. Recombinant CYP2B12 produced in Escherichia coli epoxidizes arachidonic acid to 11,12- and 8,9-epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (80 and 20% of total metabolites, respectively). The identification of arachidonic acid as a substrate for this skin-specific CYP monooxygenase suggests an endogenous function in keratinocytes in the generation of bioactive lipids and intracellular signaling.