A high-density mucin glycoprotein was isolated from human tracheobronchial secretions substantially free of contaminating protein, low-density glycoprotein, proteolytic enzymes, and lipid. A closely associated 65-kDa protein was discovered while investigating the effect of 2-mercaptoethanol treatment on the purified mucin glycoprotein. It has been established that the 65-kDa protein is neither alpha 1-antichymotrypsin nor human serum albumin, two proteins of similar molecular weight which are found in crude tracheobronchial secretions. This protein lacks cross-reactivity with antibodies directed against serum components and is presumably comparable to the 65-kDa protein similarly isolated from canine tracheal pouch secretions [Ringler et al. (1987) Biochemistry 26, 5322-5328]. Although both the presence of sulfhydryl groups and the ability to be reassociated with the mucin molecule have been established, it is not clear whether its association is due to direct disulfide bonding, hydrophobicity, or entrapment. It was found that 14C-methylated methemoglobin was an inappropriate substrate for measurement of proteolytic activity in mucin preparations due to inherent entrapment and clearance capabilities of mucin molecules.