The ERG5 gene from Saccharomyces cerevisiae was cloned by complementation of an erg5-1 mutation using a negative selection protocol involving screening for nystatin-sensitive transformants. ERG5 is the putative gene encoding the C-22 sterol desaturase required in ergosterol biosynthesis. The functional gene was localized to a 2.15-kb SacI-EcoRI DNA fragment containing an open reading frame of 538 amino acids (aa). ERG5 contains a 10-aa motif consistent with its role as a cytochrome P-450 (CyP450) enzyme and is similar to a number of mammalian CyP450 enzymes. Gene disruption demonstrates that ERG5 is not essential for cell viability.