Plasmids were constructed to direct synthesis of the human interferons IFN-alpha 1, IFN-alpha 2, and IFN-gamma in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Expression of IFN genes containing coding sequences for secretion signals resulted in the secretion of IFN activity. A large proportion of the IFN-alpha 1 and IFN-alpha 2 isolated from the yeast cell growth media had the same amino termini as the natural mature interferons, suggesting a removal of the signal sequences identical to that of human cells. These results show that a lower eukaryote, such as yeast, can utilize and process a human signal sequence.