Drosophila melanogaster express two distinct angiotensin-I-converting enzymes (ACEs) called Ance and Acer, which display a high level of primary structure similarity. We have expressed Acer in the yeast Pichia pastoris and purified the recombinant enzyme with a view to developing biochemical tools to distinguish between Acer and Ance. Purified Acer and Ance expressed in yeast were used to raise anti-Acer Ig and anti-Ance Ig that specifically cross-reacted with the respective enzyme on immunoblotting, but did not act as specific inhibitors. Acer cleaves the C-terminal dipeptides from benzoylglycyl-histidyl-leucine and [Leu5]enkephalin, and Acer and Ance are both able to act as endopeptidases, releasing the C-terminal dipeptideamide from [Leu5]enkephalinamide. However, Acer hydrolyses this substrate at a slightly faster rate than [Leu5]enkephalin, whereas Ance hydrolyses the peptide with a free C-terminus with a kcat 15-fold higher than [Leu5]enkephalinamide. In addition, Acer did not cleave angiotensin I. In contrast, Ance hydrolysed 25% of this substrate at an 8-fold lower enzyme concentration. Furthermore, Acer did not hydrolyse the synthetic substrates Phe-Ser-Pro-Arg-Leu-Gly-Arg-Arg and Phe-Ser-Pro-Arg-Leu-Gly-Lys-Arg, two partially processed putative locustamyotropin precursors, under conditions where Ance produced 82% substrate hydrolysis. Acer was inhibited by captopril, trandolaprilat and enalaprilat, with apparent Ki values in the nanomolar range, whereas lisinopril and fosinoprilat were less potent. We show that the two Drosophila ACEs are alternatively expressed in stages P1 (white puparium)-P15 (eclosion) of pupal development; Ance is expressed predominantly during stages P4-P7, whereas the ACE activity expressed during stages P9-P12 is mainly due to Acer suggesting different roles for the two enzymes during pupal development.