Phosphoinositide (PI) 3-kinases have been characterized as enzymes involved in receptor signal transduction in mammalian cells and in a complex which mediates protein trafficking in yeast. PI 3-kinases linked to receptors with intrinsic or associated tyrosine kinase activity are heterodimeric proteins, consisting of p85 adaptor and p110 catalytic subunits, which can generate the 3-phosphorylated forms of phosphatidylinositol (PtdIns), PtdIns4P and PtdIns(4,5)P2 as potential second messengers. Yeast Vps34p kinase, however, has a substrate specificity restricted to PtdIns and is a PtdIns 3-kinase. Here the molecular characterization of a new human PtdIns 3-kinase with extensive sequence homology to Vps34p is described. PtdIns 3-kinase does not associate with p85 and phosphorylates PtdIns, but not PtdIns4P or PtdIns(4,5)P2. In vivo PtdIns 3-kinase is in a complex with a cellular protein of 150 kDa, as detected by immunoprecipitation from human cells. Protein sequence analysis and cDNA cloning show that this 150 kDa protein is highly homologous to Vps15p, a 160 kDa protein serine/threonine kinase associated with yeast Vps34p. These results suggest that the major components of the yeast Vps intracellular trafficking complex are conserved in humans.