We describe the characterization, cloning, and genetic analysis of tripeptidyl peptidase II (TPP II) from Drosophila melanogaster. Mammalian TPP II removes N-terminal tripeptides, has wide distribution, and has been identified as the cholecystokinin-degrading peptidase in rat brain. Size exclusion and ion exchange chromatography produced a 70-fold purification of dTPP II activity from Drosophila tissue extracts. The substrate specificity and the inhibitor sensitivity of dTPP II is comparable to that of the human enzyme. In particular, dTPP II is sensitive to butabindide, a specific inhibitor of the rat cholecystokinin-inactivating activity. We isolated a 4309-base pair dTPP II cDNA which predicts a 1354-amino acid protein. The deduced human and Drosophila TPP II proteins display 38% overall identity. The catalytic triad, its spacing, and the sequences that surround it are highly conserved; the C-terminal end of dTPP II contains a 100-amino acid insert not found in the mammalian proteins. Recombinant dTPP II displays the predicted activity following expression in HEK cells. TPP II maps to cytological position 49F4-7; animals deficient for this interval show reduced TPP II activity.