(S)-Stylopine is an important intermediate in the biosynthesis of benzophenanthridine alkaloids, such as sanguinarine. Stylopine biosynthesis involves the sequential formation of two methylenedioxy bridges. Although the methylenedioxy bridge-forming P450 (CYP719) involved in berberine biosynthesis has been cloned from Coptis japonica[Ikezawa N, Tanaka M, Nagayoshi M, Shinkyo R, Sakaki T, Inouye K & Sato F (2003) J Biol Chem278, 38557–38565], no information is available regarding the genes for methylenedioxy bridge-forming enzymes in stylopine biosynthesis. Two cytochrome P450 cDNAs involved in stylopine biosynthesis were isolated using degenerate primers designed for C. japonica CYP719 from cultured Eschscholzia californica cells. Heterologous expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae showed that both CYP719A2 and CYP719A3 had stylopine synthase activity to catalyze methylenedioxy bridge-formation from cheilanthifoline to stylopine, but not cheilanthifoline synthase activity to convert scoulerine to cheilanthifoline. Functional differences and expression patterns of CYP719A2 and CYP719A3 were examined to investigate their physiological roles in stylopine biosynthesis. Enzymatic analysis showed that CYP719A2 had high substrate affinity only toward (R,S)-cheilanthifoline, whereas CYP719A3 had high affinity toward three similar substrates (R,S)-cheilanthifoline, (S)-scoulerine, and (S)-tetrahydrocolumbamine. An expression analysis in E. californica plant tissues showed that CYP719A2 and CYP719A3 exhibited expression patterns similar to those of three stylopine biosynthetic genes (CYP80B1, berberine bridge enzyme, and S-adenosyl-l-methionine : 3′-hydroxy-N-methylcoclaurine 4′-O-methyltransferase), whereas the specific expression of CYP719A3 in root was notable. Treatment of E. californica seedlings with methyl jasmonate resulted in the coordinated induction of CYP719A2 and CYP719A3 genes. The physiological roles of CYP719A2 and CYP719A3 in stylopine biosynthesis are discussed.