The degradation of cytosol proteins in vitro by purified cathepsin D and cathepsin B1 and by mixtures of lysosomal enzymes, was studied. By means of a double-labelling method, it was shown that the relative rates of degradation of cytosol proteins by the purified enzymes and by mixtures of enzymes under a wide range of conditions in vitro correlated well with their relative rates of turnover in vivo. The complex mixture of cytosol proteins was degraded less rapidly after denaturation than in the native state, both by the purified proteases and by the mixture of lysosomal enzymes. This contrasts with previous results on proteolysis of single purified proteins. The possible role of lysosomal enzymes in turnover in vivo was discussed.