This report suggests an important physiological role of a CYP in the accumulation of uroporphyrin I arising from catalytic oxidative conversion of uroporphyrinogen I to uroporphyrin I in the periplasm of Escherichia coli cultured in the presence of 5-aminolevulinic acid. A structurally competent Streptomyces griseus CYP105D1 was expressed as an engineered, exportable form in aerobically grown E. coli. Its progressive induction in the presence of 5-aminolevulinic acid-supplemented medium was accompanied by an accumulation of a greater than 100-fold higher amount of uroporphyrin I in the periplasm relative to cells lacking CYP105D1. Expression of a cytoplasm-resident engineered CYP105D1 at a comparative level to the secreted form was far less effective in promoting porphyrin accumulation in the periplasm. Expression at a 10-fold molar excess over the exported CYP105D1 of another periplasmically exported hemoprotein, the globular core of cytochrome b5, did not substitute the role of the periplasmically localized CYP105D1 in promoting porphyrin production. This, therefore, eliminated the possibility that uroporphyrin accumulation is merely a result of increased hemoprotein synthesis. Moreover, in the strain that secreted CYP105D1, uroporphyrin production was considerably reduced by azole-based P450 inhibitors. Production of both holo-CYP105D1 and uroporphyrin was dependent upon 5-aminolevulinic acid, except that at higher concentrations this resulted in a decrease in uroporphyrin. This study suggests that the exported CYP105D1 oxidatively catalyzes periplasmic conversion of uroporphyrinogen I to uroporphyrin I in E. coli. The findings have significant implications in the ontogenesis of human uroporphyria-related diseases.