The CKS1 gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae encodes a small essential protein shown to interact genetically and physically with the Cdc28 protein kinase. To investigate the specific functions of the CKS1 gene product, conditional temperature-sensitive mutant alleles were generated. The mutations were found to impair the ability of cells to undergo both the G1/S-phase and G2/M-phase transitions of the cell cycle, as well as the ability to bud. Mutants were not defective, however, in their ability to activate Cdc28 kinase as assayed in vitro on the substrate histone H1. It is likely, therefore, that Cks1 mediates a more specialized function of the Cdc28 kinase such as its ability to form specific multimeric complexes or to localize properly in cellular compartments.