Recent studies have suggested that yeast cell wall components possess adjuvant activities. In the present study, heat-killed whole recombinant Hansenula polymorpha yeast expressing hepatitis B surface antigen (yeast-HBsAg) was generated, and the immune responses elicited by yeast-HBsAg were investigated in mice. The studies showed that yeast-HBsAg as well as yeast greatly promotes the accumulation of immune cells in mouse spleen and contributes to the maturation of dendritic cells (DCs). Yeast-HBsAg not only induces significantly higher antibody responses (including IgG, IgG1 and IgG2a), but also increases the IgG2a/IgG1 ratio, while alum combined with HBsAg (HBsAg + alum) only enhances antibody responses, but not the IgG2a/IgG1 ratio compared to HBsAg alone. Analysis of HBsAg-specific cytokines revealed that yeast-HBsAg is associated with production of both IFN-γ and IL-4, but neither IFN-γ nor IL-4 was detected in the HBsAg + alum-immunized group. Moreover, yeast-HBsAg induces potent HBsAg-specific lymphocyte proliferation and Cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses. In conclusion, yeast-HBsAg enhances both HBsAg-specific Th1 and Th2 immune responses, while alum only enhances Th2 immune responses, suggesting that yeast-HBsAg may be an ideal candidate for an effective vaccine for the control of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection.