DNA sequence complementary to the mRNA for rabbit interleukin-1 precursor (preIL-1) has been cloned from the cDNA library constructed using partially purified poly(A)+RNA from induced rabbit alveolar macrophages by mRNA hybridization-translation assay. By using this cDNA as a probe, human IL-1 cDNA was isolated from the cDNA library prepared using poly(A)+RNA from induced HL-60 cells, a human monocyte-like cell line. The amino acid sequences of the human and rabbit preIL-1 deduced from the cDNA sequences reveal their primary structures which consists of 271 and 267 amino acid residues, respectively. The amino acid sequence is 64% conserved between human and rabbit. The difference in number of amino acid residues results from the carboxy-terminal extention of 4 amino acid residues in human preIL-1. Expression of the cloned human cDNA in E. coli yielded biologically active IL-1.