The budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae provides a unique opportunity for study of the microtubule-based motor proteins that participate in mitotic spindle function. The genome of Saccharomyces encodes a relatively small and genetically tractable set of microtubule-based motor proteins. The single cytoplasmic dynein and five of the six kinesin-related proteins encoded have been implicated in mitotic spindle function. Each motor protein is unique in amino acid sequence. On account of functional overlap, no single motor is uniquely required for cell viability, however. The ability to create and analyze multiple mutants has allowed experimental dissection of the roles performed by each mitotic motor. Some of the motors operate within the nucleus to assemble and elongate the bipolar spindle (kinesin-related Cin8p, Kip1p, Kip3p and Kar3p). Others operate on the cytoplasmic microtubules to effect spindle and nuclear positioning within the cell (dynein and kinesin-related Kip2p, Kip3p and Kar3p). The six motors apparently contribute three fundamental activities to spindle function: motility, microtubule cross-linking and regulation of microtubule dynamics.