Abstract Phenoloxidase (PO)-catalyzed reactions are crucial to the survival of insects after a pathogen or parasite infection. In Manduca sexta, active PO is generated from its precursor by a prophenoloxidase activating proteinase (PAP) in the presence of non-catalytic serine proteinase homologs (SPHs). The PAP and SPHs, located at the ends of a branched proteinase cascade, also require limited proteolysis to become functional. While the processing enzyme of M. sexta proPAP-2 and proPAP-3 is known, we are now investigating the proteolytic activation of proSPH-1 and proSPH-2. Here, we report the development of a series of Bac-to-Bac plasmid vectors for co-expression, secretion, and affinity purification of proSPH-1 and proSPH-2 from insect cells infected by one baculovirus. The purified proteins were characterized and used as substrates in a search for their activating enzymes in plasma of the larvae injected with microorganisms. Proteolytic processing occurred after the proSPHs had been incubated with hydroxyapatite or gel filtration column fractions. The cleaved proteins were active as a cofactor for proPO activation by PAP, and coexistence of SPH-1 and SPH-2 is essential for manifesting the auxiliary effect.