Abstract Lmairk, a gene encoding a member of the Aurora/Ipl1p family of protein kinases (AIRK), was cloned from the protozoan parasite Leishmania major. Aurora kinases are key enzymes involved in the regulation of normal chromosome segregation during mitosis and cytokenesis of eukaryotic cells. This single-copy gene located on L. major chromosome 28 encodes a 301 amino acid polypeptide. All 11 conserved eukaryotic protein kinase catalytic subdomains are present and the proposed AIRK signature sequence was identified in the activation loop between subdomains VII and VIII. Lmairk is expressed, as an approximately 2.4 kb message, in at least three different species of Leishmania. This report represents the first identification of an AIRK from the trypanosomatid family of early divergent eukaryotes.