Recently several cDNAs have been described encoding lysyl oxidase-like proteins. Their deduced amino acid sequences are characterized by a strong similarity in the C-terminal region, corresponding to the lysyl oxidase family catalytic domain, and by marked differences in the N-terminal regions. Different biological functions have been described for lysyl oxidases in addition to their traditionally assumed cross-linking role. To answer the question of whether these different functions are carried out by different lysyl oxidases, purified and active forms of these enzymes are required. At present only the classical form of lysyl oxidase has been purified and characterized. The purpose of this study was to isolate and characterize the lysyl oxidase-like protein. In view of the strong sequence homology with the C-terminal domain of other lysyl oxidases, we chose to purify the protein from bovine aorta using antibodies specific to the N-terminal domain of the proenzyme. We have isolated a 56-kDa protein identified by amino acid sequencing as the bovine lysyl oxidase-like precursor, which is cleaved at the Arg-Arg-Arg sequence at positions 89-91 by a furin-like activity, as revealed after deblocking of the N-terminal residue. The immunopurified protein was largely inactive, but further processing in vitro by bone morphogenetic protein-1 led to an enzyme that was active on elastin and collagen substrates.