By means of a yeast genome database search, we have identified an open reading frame located on chromosome XVI of Saccharomyces cerevisiae that encodes a protein with 53% amino acid similarity to the 11.3-kDa subunit g of bovine mitochondrial F1F0-ATP synthase. We have designated this ORF ATP20, and its product subunit g. A null mutant strain, constructed by insertion of the HIS3 gene into the coding region of ATP20, retained oxidative phosphorylation function. Assembly of F1F0-ATP synthase in the atp20-null strain was not affected in the absence of subunit g and levels of oligomycin-sensitive ATP hydrolase activity in mitochondria were normal. Immunoprecipitation of F1F0-ATP synthase from mitochondrial lysates prepared from atp20-null cells expressing a variant of subunit g with a hexahistidine motif indicated that this polypeptide was associated with other well-characterized subunits of the yeast complex. Whilst mitochondria isolated from the atp20-null strain had the same oxidative phosphorylation efficiency (ATP : O) as that of the control strain, the atp20-null strain displayed approximately a 30% reduction in both respiratory capacity and ATP synthetic rate. The absence of subunit g also reduced the activity of cytochrome c oxidase, and altered the kinetic control of this complex as demonstrated by experiments titrating ATP synthetic activity with cyanide. These results indicate that subunit g is associated with F1F0-ATP synthase and is required for maximal levels of respiration, ATP synthesis and cytochrome c oxidase activity in yeast.