The mechanism of degradation of fructose-1,6-bisphosphate aldolase from rabbit muscle by the lysosomal proteinase cathepsin B was determined. Treatment of aldolase with cathepsin B destroys up to 90% of activity with fructose 1,6-bisphosphate as substrate, but activity with fructose 1-phosphate is slightly increased. Cathepsin L, another lysosomal thiol proteinase, and papain are also potent inactivators of aldolase, whereas inactivation is not caused by cathepsins D or H even at high concentrations, or by cathepsin B inhibited by leupeptin or iodoacetate. The cathepsin-B-treated aldolase shows no detectable change in subunit molecular weight, oligomer molecular weight or subunit interactions. Cathepsin B cleaves dipeptides from the C-terminus of th aldolase subunits. Four dipeptides are released sequentially: Ala-Tyr, Asn-His, Ile-Ser and Leu-Phe, and a maximum of five additional dipeptides may be released. There are indications that this peptidyldipeptidase activity of cathepsin B may be an important aspect of its action on protein substrates generally.