In response to phosphate limitation, Saccharomyces cerevisiae induces transcription of a set of genes important for survival. A phosphate-responsive signal transduction pathway mediates this response by controlling the activity of the transcription factor Pho4. Three components of this signal transduction pathway resemble those used to regulate the eukaryotic cell cycle: a cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK), Pho85; a cyclin, Pho80; and a CDK inhibitor (CKI), Pho81. Pho81 forms a stable complex with Pho80-Pho85 under both high- and low-phosphate conditions, but it only inhibits the kinase when cells are starved for phosphate. Pho81 contains six tandem repeats of the ankyrin consensus domain homologous to the INK4 family of mammalian CKIs. INK4 proteins inhibit kinase activity through an interaction of the ankyrin repeats and the CDK subunits. Surprisingly, we find that a region of Pho81 containing 80 amino acids C terminal to the ankyrin repeats is necessary and sufficient for Pho81's CKI function. The ankyrin repeats of Pho81 appear to have no significant role in Pho81 inhibition. Our results suggest that Pho81 inhibits Pho80-Pho85 with a novel motif.