Hybrid plasmids containing the mouse dihydrofolate reductase (dhfr) and a human interferon (either IFN-alpha 5 or IFN-gamma) coding sequence under the control of viral promoters were transfected into dhfr- Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. dhfr+ colonies produced IFN at 10-1000 units X ml-1 X day-1. Clones selected in methotrexate had a 20-50-fold increase in the IFN-alpha 5 and dhfr DNA and mRNA content and secreted IFN at 20,000-100,000 units X ml-1 X day-1. SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of partially purified 35S-HuIFN-gamma from CHO cells showed a multiple of labeled bands with a mobility corresponding to 22,400 to 23,400 daltons which was absent in the supernatants of non-transformed CHO cells. The higher apparent molecular weight of human IFN-gamma from CHO cells as compared to that of human IFN-gamma from E. coli (about 18,800) suggests that the former was glycosylated.