hsHec1p, a Homo sapiens coiled-coil-enriched protein, plays an important role in M-phase progression in mammalian cells. A Saccharomyces cerevisiae protein, identical to Tid3p/Ndc80p and here designated scHec1p, has similarities in structure and biological function to hsHec1p. Budding yeast cells deleted in the scHEC1/NDC80 allele are not viable, but this lethal phenotype can be rescued by hsHEC1 under control of the endogenous scHEC1 promoter. At the nonpermissive temperature, significant mitotic delay, chromosomal missegregation, and decreased viability were observed in yeast cells with temperature-sensitive (ts) alleles of hsHEC1. In the hshec1-113 ts mutant, we found a single-point mutation changing Trp395 to a stop codon, which resulted in the expression of a C-terminally truncated 45-kDa protein. The binding of this mutated protein, hshec1-113p, to five identified hsHec1p-associated proteins was unchanged, while its binding to human SMC1 protein and yeast Smc1p was ts. Hec1p also interacts with Smc2p, and the binding of the mutated hshec1-113p to Smc2p was not ts. Overexpression of either hsHEC1 or scHEC1 suppressed the lethal phenotype of smc1-2 and smc2-6 at nonpermissive temperatures, suggesting that the interactions between Hec1p and Smc1p and -2p are biologically significant. These results suggest that Hec1 proteins play a critical role in modulating chromosomal segregation, in part, through their interactions with SMC proteins.