A multisubunit protein complex, Cbf3, is a component of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae kinetochore. Cbf3 was recently shown to be essential for chromosome segregation in vivo and for movement of centromere DNA (CEN) along microtubules in vitro. Cbf3 contains three proteins, Cbf3a, Cbf3b and Cbf3c. Here the characterization of Cbf3b is described. Cbf3b contains an N-terminal Zn2Cys6 type zinc finger domain, a C-terminal acidic domain and a putative coiled coil dimerization domain. Cbf3b is essential for growth. Mutations within the zinc finger domain result in cells that exhibit a G2-M cell cycle delay and increased chromosome loss in each mitotic cell division. Therefore, Cbf3b has an essential function in chromosome segregation and the zinc finger domain executes part of this function presumably by providing the specific interaction between Cbf3 and CEN. Finally, data are provided to show that Cbf3c is encoded by CTF13, a gene that had been cloned recently by complementing a temperature sensitive mutant that exhibits chromosome loss as a result of a defective centromere.