Yeast centromere DNA (CEN) affinity column chromatography has been used to purify several putative centromere and kinetochore proteins from yeast chromatin extracts. The single yeast gene (CBF5) specifying one of the major low-affinity centromere-binding proteins (p64'/CBF5p) has been cloned and shown to be essential for viability of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. CBF5 specifies a 55-kDa highly charged protein that contains a repeating KKD/E sequence domain near the C terminus, similar to known microtubule-binding domains in microtubule-associated proteins 1A and 1B, CBF5p, obtained by overexpression in bacterial cells, binds microtubules in vitro, whereas C-terminal deleted proteins lacking the (KKD/E)n domain do not. Dividing yeast cells containing a C-terminal truncated CBF5 gene, producing CBF5p containing only three copies of the KKD/E repeat, delay with replicated genomes at the G2/M phase of the cell cycle, while depletion of CBF5p arrests most cells in G1/S. Overproduction of CBF5p in S. cerevisiae complements a temperature sensitivity mutation in the gene (CBF2) specifying the 110-kDa subunit of the high-affinity CEN DNA-binding factor CBF3, suggesting in vivo interaction of CBF5p and CBF3. A second low-affinity centromere-binding factor has been identified as topoisomerase II.