Abstract A radiometric procedure to detect the presence of proteolytic enzymes and analyze their substrate specificity is described. The enzymatic activity is first measured by the release into solution of a radiolabeled reporter group from an immobilized peptidyl substrate. Two peptidyl substrates encompassing multiple cleavage sites, a derivative of Leu-enkephalin and a peptide related to the bait region of human α 2-macroglobulin, are prepared and linked via a spacer molecule to an insoluble support. The labeled peptides released are then separated by high-performance liquid chromatography. The position of the released peptides upon chromatography allows direct identification of the sites of cleavage. The assay, using a radioactive iodinated tyrosine residue as reporter group, is extremely sensitive (less than 0.02 pg/ml of trypsin), reproducible, and easy to perform while yielding unambiguous identification of the sites of cleavage. This assay can be used to detect the presence of enzymatic activities and/or of enzyme inhibitors. Furthermore, it can be easily adapted to detect from a variety of sources all four classes of enzymes known by using appropriate peptidyl substrate sequences, buffer, pH, and incubation conditions.