The activation of inactive prorenin by active renin was investigated. Inactive prorenin extensively purified from human plasma was activated by active renin which had been purified from mouse submaxillary glands by multiple chromatographic steps. The apparent lack of protease activity in renin was puzzling in view of the close similarity of its active site structure with that of acid proteases. After a series of affinity chromatographic steps designed to eliminate minute contaminants, renin was found to contain a very low but finite level of a neutral protease activity which was equivalent to 1/40,000 of that of cathepsin D tested by hemoglobinolytic activity. The protease activity was considered as intrinsic to renin since it co-purified with renin persistently at a constant ratio to the renin activity, was precipitated by a monoclonal antibody specific for renin, showed a neutral pH optimum of the enzyme activity in the same pH range as that of renin, and was inhibited by pepstatin. The neutral protease activity is likely to mediate the activation of inactive prorenin.