Interferon-alpha 1 from Escherichia coli transformed with a hybrid plasmid containing a human leukocyte complementary DNA insert, induces resistance to virus in appropriate target cells. It also shares the following properties with natural leukocyte interferon (IFN). (i) It enhances natural killing activity of human lymphocytes, (ii) it enhances antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity, (iii) it suppresses antigen- and mitogen-induced leukocyte migration inhibition, (iv) it inhibits growth of IFN-sensitive Burkitt lymphoma cells. Since these activities are exhibited by a cloned protein species, they are due to IFN itself and not to other human proteins.