IgA1 proteases from H. influenzae, N. meningitidis S. pneumoniae, and S. sanguis were compared with respect to site of cleavage in the IgA1 molecule and EDTA sensitivity. Proteases from S. sanguis and S. pneumoniae cleaved the Pro (227)-Thr (228) bond within the hinge region of the α1 chain and were inhibited by EDTA. H. influenzae IgA1 protease cleaved the Pro (231)-Ser (232) peptide bond. The activity of IgA1 proteases from H. influenzae and N. meningitidis was unaffected by EDTA. Purified and denatured α1 chain was cleaved only in the hinge region. Other component chains of secretory IgA (secretory component, light and J chains) were not susceptible. In addition to IgA1 protease, S. pneumoniae released exo- and endoglycosidases that removed a considerable portion of carbohydrate side chains of IgA1; this activity was absent from crude IgA1 protease preparations of the other three bacterial species. Association in vitro of polymeric IgA1 with SC did not inhibit the degradation of IgA1 by proteases. The considerable resistance of secretory IgA to cleavage by IgA1 proteases may be explained in part by the presence of IgA1 protease-neutralizing antibodies in secretory IgA.