In previous studies we had administered benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) to genetically engineered mice (HRN) which do not express NADPH:cytochrome P450 oxidoreductase (POR) in hepatocytes and observed higher DNA adduct levels in livers of these mice than in wild-type mice. To elucidate the reason for this unexpected finding we have used two different settings for in vitro incubations; hepatic microsomes from control and BaP-pretreated HRN mice and reconstituted systems with cytochrome P450 1A1 (CYP1A1), POR, cytochrome b, and epoxide hydrolase (mEH) in different ratios. In microsomes from BaP-pretreated mice, in which Cyp1a1 was induced, higher levels of BaP metabolites were formed, mainly of BaP-7,8-dihydrodiol. At a low POR:CYP1A1 ratio of 0.05:1 in the reconstituted system, the amounts of BaP diones and BaP-9-ol formed were essentially the same as at an equimolar ratio, but formation of BaP-3-ol was ~1.6-fold higher. Only after addition of mEH were BaP dihydrodiols found. Two BaP-DNA adducts were formed in the presence of mEH, but only one when CYP1A1 and POR were present alone. At a ratio of POR:CYP1A1 of 0.05:1, addition of cytochrome b increased CYP1A1-mediated BaP oxidation to most of its metabolites indicating that cytochrome b participates in the electron transfer from NADPH to CYP1A1 required for enzyme activity of this CYP. BaP-9-ol was formed even by CYP1A1 reconstituted with cytochrome b without POR. Our results suggest that in livers of HRN mice Cyp1a1, cytochrome b and mEH can effectively activate BaP to DNA binding species, even in the presence of very low amounts of POR.