Recent studies reveal that maturation of the 40S ribosomal subunit precursors in mammals includes an additional step during processing of the internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1), when compared with yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, even though the protein content of the pre-40S particle appears to be the same. Here, we examine by depletion with siRNA treatment the function of human orthologs of two essential yeast pre-ribosomal factors, hEnp1/bystin and hTsr1. Like their yeast orthologs, bystin is required for efficient cleavage of the ITS1 and further processing of this domain within the pre-40S particles, whereas hTsr1 is necessary for the final maturation steps. However, bystin depletion leads to accumulation of an unusual 18S rRNA precursor, revealing a new step in ITS1 processing that potentially involves an exonuclease. In addition, pre-40S particles lacking hTsr1 are partially retained in the nucleus, whereas depletion of Tsr1p in yeast results in strong cytoplasmic accumulation of pre-40S particles. These data indicate that ITS1 processing in human cells may be more complex than currently envisioned and that coordination between maturation and nuclear export of pre-40S particles has evolved differently in yeast and mammalian cells.