The energy-requirement for intracellular proteolysis is due largely to the involvement of large multimeric proteases whose function requires ATP hydrolysis. The best-studied such enzyme is protease La from E coli. This tetrameric protease is inhibited in vivo until the binding of an unfolded protein allostericically activates its peptidase and ATPase functions. This mechanism and tight transcriptional regulation prevent non-specific or excessive proteolysis. E. coli contains another ATP-hydrolyzing protease, Ti (Clp), which contains distinct ATPase and proteolytic subunits. Enzymes homologous to La and Ti exist in mitochondria and chloroplasts. In eukaryotic cells, a major neutral proteolytic activity is the 650 kDa proteasome. This multicatalytic structure can function as an ATP-dependent protease or as part of the ATP-dependent complex that degrades ubiquitinated proteins. In mammalian muscle this 1300 kDa complex is formed by an ATP-dependent association of the proteasome with another ATP-dependent protease complex, multipain. Much remains to be learned about the physiological roles and mechanisms of these novel proteases.