We used the expression of chimeric proteins and point mutants to identify amino acids of the hepatic progesterone 21-hydroxylase P450IIC5 which are part of an epitope recognized by an inhibitory monoclonal antibody and which affect substrate binding. Three amino acids of P450IIC5 at positions 113, 115, and 118 were introduced into P450IIC4, which is 95% identical to P450IIC5. The resultant chimeric protein acquired binding of the monoclonal antibody 1F11, which is highly specific and inhibitory for P450IIC5. Point mutants in P450IIC4 showed that two of the three changes, T115S and N118K, contribute to the epitope recognized by this antibody. The T115S mutant bound the antibody weakly (Kd greater than 30 nM) whereas the N118K mutant bound the antibody as tightly as P450IIC5 (Kd less than or equal to 0.7 nM). Thus, residues 115 and 118 are located on the surface of these enzymes, and the Lys/Asn difference at amino acid 118 is largely responsible for the high degree of discrimination which this antibody exhibits between P450IIC5 and P450IIC4. The valine to alanine mutation at position 113 conferred to P450IIC4 a lower apparent Km for progesterone 21-hydroxylation. Because antibody binding was not affected by this mutation, it is tempting to speculate that this residue is buried in the protein where it exerts its effect on the catalytic activity by interaction with the substrate or alters the positions of residues of the active site. The close proximity of the epitope at positions 115 and 118 to Ala113 suggests that the inhibitory monoclonal antibody interferes with substrate binding.