Genes for the mitotic kinases Polo and Aurora A were first identified in Drosophila through screens of maternal effect lethal mutations for defects in spindle pole behaviour. These enzymes have been shown to be highly conserved and required for multiple functions in mitosis. Polo is stabilized at the centrosome by association with Hsp90. It is required for centrosome maturation on M-phase entry in order to recruit the gamma-tubulin ring complex and activate the abnormal spindle protein, Asp. These events facilitate the nucleation of minus ends of microtubules at the centrosome. The localization of Polo at the kinetochore and the mid-zone of the central spindle together with the phenotypes of polo mutants point to functions at the metaphase to anaphase transition and in cytokinesis. The latter are mediated, at least in part, through the Pavarotti kinesin-like motor protein and its conserved counterparts in other metazoans.