We have studied the patterns of expression of four B-type cyclins (Clbs), Clb1, Clb2, Clb3, and Clb4, and their ability to activate p34cdc28 during the mitotic and meiotic cell cycles of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. During the mitotic cell cycle, Clb3 and Clb4 were expressed and induced a kinase activity in association with p34cdc28 from early S phase up to mitosis. On the other hand, Clb1 and Clb2 were expressed and activated p34cdc28 later in the mitotic cell cycle, starting in late S phase and continuing up to mitosis. The pattern of expression of Clb3 and Clb4 suggests a possible role in the regulation of DNA replication as well as mitosis. Clb1 and Clb2, whose pattern of expression is similar to that of other known Clbs, are likely to have a role predominantly in the regulation of M phase. During the meiotic cell cycle, Clb1, Clb3, and Clb4 were expressed and induced a p34cdc28-associated kinase activity just before the first meiotic division. The fact that Clb3 and Clb4 were not synthesized earlier, in S phase, suggests that these cyclins, which probably have a role in S phase during the mitotic cell cycle, are not implicated in premeiotic S phase. Clb2, the primary mitotic cyclin in S. cerevisiae, was not detectable during meiosis. Sporulation experiments on strains deleted for one, two, or three Clbs indicate, in agreement with the biochemical data, that Clb1 is the primary cyclin for the regulation of meiosis, while Clb2 is not involved at all.