Recent advances in understanding sphingolipid metabolism and function in Saccharomyces cerevisiae have moved the field from an embryonic, descriptive phase to one more focused on molecular mechanisms. One advance that has aided many experiments has been the uncovering of genes for the biosynthesis and breakdown of sphingolipids. S. cerevisiae seems on the verge of becoming the first organism in which all sphingolipid metabolic genes are identified. Other advances include the demonstration that S. cerevisiae cells have lipid rafts composed of sphingolipids and ergosterol and that specific proteins associate with rafts. Roles for phytosphingosine (PHS) and dihydrosphingosine (DHS) in heat stress continue to be uncovered including regulation of the transient cell cycle arrest, control of putative signaling pathways that govern cell integrity, endocytosis, movement of the cortical actin cytoskeleton and regulation of protein breakdown in the plasma membrane. Other studies suggest roles for sphingolipids in exocytosis, growth regulation and longevity. Finally, some progress has been made in understanding how sphingolipid synthesis is regulated and how sphingolipid levels are maintained.