The expression of a 30 kD cysteine endoprotease (EP-B) was studied by in situ hybridization and immunomicroscopy to clarify its role in germinating barley grains. At the beginning of germination, EP-B mRNA was expressed in the scutellar epithelium and aleurone cells next to the embryo. Later, mRNA levels were highest in the aleurone layer proceeding to the distal end of the grain. During the first day of germination, EP-B protein was strongly localized to the germ aleurone and scutellar epithelium from where the secretion into the starchy endosperm began. Secretion was also observed to proceed along the aleurone layer to the distal end. These results show that EP-B is differentially localized during germination, and both scutellum and aleurone layer are able to synthesize and secrete EP-B protein.