The 20S proteasome is the enzyme complex responsible for the processing of antigens bound by major histocompatibility complex class I molecules. The role of the interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma)-inducible proteasome subunits LMP2 and LMP7 in this process is, however, still controversial. We have studied the effects of IFN-gamma-independent LMP incorporation on the quality of peptides processed from the murine cytomegalovirus IE pp89 25-mer polypeptide substrate through dual cleavages by 20S proteasomes. The incorporation of a single LMP subunit or both LMP2 and LMP7 induces changes in 20S proteasome subunit stoichiometry, alters its cleavage site preference and in consequence, the quality of the generated peptides. When the several hydrolytic activities are tested with short fluorogenic peptide substrates, the Vmax, S0.5 (Km), or both values of 20S proteasomes are altered, depending on the combination of LMP. There exists, however, no obvious correlation between the observed changes in hydrolytic activities against short fluorogenic peptides and the changes in dual cleavage site usage within the 25-mer polypeptide substrate. As judged from the calculated Hill coefficients, the presence of both LMP subunits induces a drastic increase in positive cooperativity between the proteasome subunits.