We have identified the gene DYN1, which encodes the heavy chain of cytoplasmic dynein in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The predicted amino acid sequence (M(r) 471,305) reveals the presence of four P-loop motifs, as in all dyneins known so far, and has 28% overall identity to the dynein heavy chain of Dictyostelium [Koonce, M. P., Grissom, P. M. & McIntosh, J. R. (1992) J. Cell Biol. 119, 1597-1604] with 40% identity in the putative motor domain. Disruption of DYN1 causes misalignment of the spindle relative to the bud neck during cell division and results in abnormal distribution of the dividing nuclei between the mother cell and the bud. Cytoplasmic dynein, by generating force along cytoplasmic microtubules, may play an important role in the proper alignment of the mitotic spindle in yeast.