Dynein motor isoforms have been implicated as potential kinetochore-associated motors that power chromosome-to-pole movements during mitosis. The recent identification and sequence determination of genes encoding dynein isoforms has now permitted the in vivo analysis of dynein function in mitosis. In this report we describe the identification and mutational analysis of the gene, DHC1, encoding a dynein heavy chain isoform in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Sequence analysis of a 9-kb genomic fragment of the DHC1 gene predicts a polypeptide highly homologous to dynein sequences characterized from sea urchin, Dictyostelium, Drosophila, and rat. Mutations in the yeast dynein gene disrupt the normal movement of the spindle into budding daughter cells but have no apparent effect on spindle assembly, spindle elongation, or chromosome segregation. Our results suggest that, in yeast, a dynein microtubule motor protein has a nonessential role in spindle assembly and chromosome movement but is involved in establishing the proper spindle orientation during cell division.