The yeast CAN1 gene, thought to encode arginine permease, has found use in genetics as a selectable locus. We have sequenced the cloned CAN1 gene, which contains an open reading frame of 1770 nucleotides, encoding a polypeptide of calculated molecular weight 65,766. Disruption of this open reading frame largely abolishes CAN1 gene expression, while subcloned fragments of the open reading frame hybridize strand-specifically to a 2.3 kb yeast RNA message. The encoded protein has no leader signal sequence, and is highly hydrophobic, with a possible twelve membrane-spanning domains, several of which have the high hydrophobic moments seen in channel-forming or permease proteins. This protein structure is consistent with the CAN1 product being the plasma membrane arginine permease.