A high molecular weight (greater than 400,000) protease active with [3H]leucine-labeled globin has been found in the postmicrosomal fraction of mouse kidney, brain, heart, spleen, and tumor cells and is most active in liver. The presence in liver was unexpected because liver cytosol is very ineffective in the breakdown of endogenous, labeled proteins. The enzyme has a number of properties that distinguish it from known cathepsins in addition to its high molecular weight. It is most active at pH approximately 7.5. When purified, it is unstable above 20 degrees C and is stabilized by metal chelating agents such as citrate, creatine-P, and glycerate-3-P. It is an -SH protease, but its thermal instability is not affected by 1 mM dithiothreitol. The enzyme is not lysosomal.