Endothelial cells store the multimeric adhesive glycoprotein von Willebrand factor (vWf), which promotes the formation of a platelet plug at the site of vessel injury. To investigate the packaging of vWf into the granules called Weibel-Palade bodies, we expressed pro-vWf cDNA and cDNA lacking the prosequence in a variety of cell lines. Storage granules formed only in cells that contain a regulated pathway of secretion. Furthermore, packaging required the prosequence. Pro-vWf, lacking the C-terminal region involved in interchain disulfide bonding, formed granules. We conclude that the signal for storage is universal in that an adhesive glycoprotein can be stored by a hormone-secreting cell; the storage of vWf is independent of its covalent multimeric structure; the unusual rod shape of Weibel-Palade bodies is due to vWf; and the vWf propolypeptide is necessary for the formation of vWf storage granules.