Most neuropeptides are synthesized as large precursor proteins. These precursors undergo a maturation process involving several proteolytic events that generate the biologically active peptides. The enzymatic mechanisms underlying this processing are still largely unknown. The processing of the precursor protein proenkephalin was studied in two different bovine tissues, the hypothalamus and adrenal medulla. The high molecular weight enkephalin-containing peptides that accumulate in these two tissues were found to be different, indicating the existence of two processing pathways for this neuropeptide precursor.