Random mutagenesis is an approach that has the potential to provide useful information about cytochrome P450 (P450) enzymes but has not been extensively used to date. We applied our previously developed systems for generation of random libraries of human P450 1A2 with the putative substrate recognition sequences mutated (individual residues) and an Escherichia coli genotoxity assay involving reversion to lac prototrophy as a response to activation of the heterocyclic amine 2-amino-3,5-dimethylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoline (MeIQ). A total of 27 mutants were screened from 6000 clones, a small portion of the library. The sequence changes were identified, and E. coli membranes containing each P450 (with NADPH-P450 reductase expressed using a bicistronic vector) were used to determine kcat and Km values for 7-ethoxyresorufin and phenacetin O-deethylation and the (in vitro) activation of MeIQ with another bacterial genotoxicity system (Salmonella typhimurium umu). Within each assay, the values of kcat/Km varied by 2 orders of magnitude, and in some cases these parameters were 3-4-fold higher than for the native enzyme. The profiles of the mutants varied considerably for the three different reactions. Some of the mutants in the Asp-320 region may be compared with site-directed mutants of rat P450 1A2 already reported, with several differences noted. Other mutants have not been studied before in human P450 1A2 or homologues and are of interest; i.e., all Phe-226 mutants showed considerably reduced activity but Glu-225 mutants had increased catalytic activities. In principle, this approach may be applied to random mutagenesis of any enzyme that converts chemicals to mutagens and can be expressed in bacteria.