In budding yeast, a protein kinase called Gin4 is specifically activated during mitosis and functions in a pathway initiated by the Clb2 cyclin to control bud growth. We have used genetics and biochemistry to identify additional proteins that function with Gin4 in this pathway, and both of these approaches have identified members of the septin family. Loss of septin function produces a phenotype that is very similar to the phenotype caused by loss of Gin4 function, and the septins are required early in mitosis to activate Gin4 kinase activity. Furthermore, septin mutants display a prolonged mitotic delay at the short spindle stage, consistent with a role for the septins in the control of mitotic events. Members of the septin family bind directly to Gin4, demonstrating that the functions of Gin4 and the septins must be closely linked within the cell. These results demonstrate that the septins in budding yeast play an integral role in the mitosis-specific regulation of the Gin4 kinase and that they carry out functions early in mitosis.