Mutations at the APM1 and APM2 loci in the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii confer resistance to phosphorothioamidate and dinitroaniline herbicides. Genetic interactions between apm1 and apm2 mutations suggest an interaction between the gene products. We identified the APM1 and APM2 genes using a map-based cloning strategy. Genomic DNA fragments containing only the DNJ1 gene encoding a type I Hsp40 protein rescue apm1 mutant phenotypes, conferring sensitivity to the herbicides and rescuing a temperature-sensitive growth defect. Lesions at five apm1 alleles include missense mutations and nucleotide insertions and deletions that result in altered proteins or very low levels of gene expression. The HSP70A gene, encoding a cytosolic Hsp70 protein known to interact with Hsp40 proteins, maps near the APM2 locus. Missense mutations found in three apm2 alleles predict altered Hsp70 proteins. Genomic fragments containing the HSP70A gene rescue apm2 mutant phenotypes. The results suggest that a client of the Hsp70-Hsp40 chaperone complex may function to increase microtubule dynamics in Chlamydomonas cells. Failure of the chaperone system to recognize or fold the client protein(s) results in increased microtubule stability and resistance to the microtubule-destabilizing effect of the herbicides. The lack of redundancy of genes encoding cytosolic Hsp70 and Hsp40 type I proteins in Chlamydomonas makes it a uniquely valuable system for genetic analysis of the function of the Hsp70 chaperone complex.