Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains that contain the ery8-1 mutation are temperature sensitive for growth due to a defect in phosphomevalonate kinase, an enzyme of isoprene and ergosterol biosynthesis. A plasmid bearing the yeast ERG8 gene was isolated from a YCp50 genomic library by functional complementation of the erg8-1 mutant strain. Genetic analysis demonstrated that integrated copies of an ERG8 plasmid mapped to the erg8 locus, confirming the identity of this clone. Southern analysis showed that ERG8 was a single-copy gene. Subcloning and DNA sequencing defined the functional ERG8 regulon as an 850-bp upstream region and an adjacent 1,272-bp open reading frame. The deduced 424-amino-acid ERG8 protein showed no homology to known proteins except within a putative ATP-binding domain present in many kinases. Disruption of the chromosomal ERG8 coding region by integration of URA3 or HIS3 marker fragments was lethal in haploid cells, indicating that this gene is essential. Expression of the ERG8 gene in S. cerevisiae from the galactose-inducible galactokinase (GAL1) promoter resulted in 1,000-fold-elevated levels of phosphomevalonate kinase enzyme activity. Overproduction of a soluble protein with the predicted 48-kDa size for phosphomevalonate kinase was also observed in the yeast cells.