The proteasome is the primary protease used by cells for degrading proteins and generating peptide ligands for class I molecules of the major histocompatibility complex. Based on the properties of cells adapted to grow in the presence of the proteasome inhibitor 4-hydroxy-5-iodo-3-nitrophenylacetyl-Leu-Leu-leucinal-vinyl sulfone (NLVS), it was proposed that proteasomes can be replaced by alternative proteolytic systems, particularly a large proteolytic complex with a tripeptidyl peptidase II activity. Here we show that NLVS-adapted cells retain sensitivity to a number of highly specific proteasome inhibitors with regard to antigenic peptide generation, accumulation of polyubiquitinated proteins, degradation of p53, and cell viability. In addition, we show that in the same assays (with a single minor exception), NLVS-adapted cells are about as sensitive as nonselected cells to Ala-Ala-Phe-chloromethylketone, a specific inhibitor of tripeptidyl peptidase II activity. Based on these findings, we conclude that proteasomes still have essential proteolytic functions in adapted cells that are not replaced by Ala-Ala-Phe-chloromethylketone-sensitive proteases.