Yeast aminopeptidase I is a vacuolar enzyme, which catalyzes the removal of amino acids from the NH2 terminus of peptides and proteins (Frey, J., and Rohm, K-H. (1978) Biochim. Biophys. Acta 527, 31-41). A yeast genomic DNA encoding aminopeptidase I was cloned from a yeast EMBL3A library and sequenced. The DNA sequence encodes a precursor protein containing 514 amino acid residues. The 'mature' protein, whose NH2-terminal sequence was confirmed by automated Edman degradation, consists, based only on the DNA sequence, of 469 amino acids. A 45-residue presequence contains positively and negatively charged as well as hydrophobic residues, and its NH2-terminal residues could be arrayed in an amphiphilic α-helix. This presequence differs from the signal sequences which direct proteins across bacterial plasma membranes and endoplasmic reticulum or into mitochondria. It remains to be established how this unique presequence targets aminopeptidase I to yeast vacuoles and how this sorting utilizes classical protein secretory pathways. Further, the aminopeptidase I gene, localized previously by genetic mapping to yeast chromosome XI and called the LAP4 gene (Trumbly, R.J., and Bradley, G. (1983) J. Bacteriol. 156, 36-48), was determined by DNA blot analyses to be a single copy gene located on chromosome XI.