The adverse reactions provoked by many antibiotics in humans are well documented but are generally poorly understood at the molecular level. To elucidate potential genetic defects that could give rise to susceptibility to prokaryote-specific antibiotics in eukaryotes, we undertook genome-wide screens using the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model of eukaryotes; our previous work with a small number of yeast mutants revealed some specific gene functions required for oxytetracycline resistance. Here, the complete yeast deletion strain collection was tested for growth in the presence of a range of antibiotics. The sensitivities of mutants revealed by these screens were validated in independent tests. None of the approximately 4,800 defined deletion strains tested were found to be sensitive to amoxicillin, penicillin G, rifampin, or vancomycin. However, two of the yeast mutants were tetracycline sensitive and four were oxytetracycline sensitive; encompassed among the latter were mutants carrying deletions in the same genes that we had characterized previously. Seventeen deletion strains were found to exhibit growth defects in the presence of gentamicin, with MICs for the strains being as low as 32 micro g ml(-1) (the wild type exhibited no growth defects at any gentamicin concentration tested up to 512 micro g ml(-1)). Strikingly, 11 of the strains that were most sensitive to gentamicin carried deletions in genes whose products are all involved in various aspects of vacuolar and Golgi complex (or endoplasmic reticulum) function. Therefore, these and analogous organelles, which are also the principal sites of gentamicin localization in human cells, appear to be essential for normal resistance to gentamicin in eukaryotes. The approach and data described here offer a new route to gaining insight into the potential genetic bases of antibiotic insusceptibilities in eukaryotes.