The centrosomin (cnn) gene encodes a protein associated with mitotic centrosomes in Drosophila melanogaster and is a target of homeotic gene regulation. Here we report that CNN is an essential component of the centrosome. Loss of zygotic cnn expression disrupts the development of the second midgut constriction, the gastric caeca, and the nervous system. Embryos that lack maternal as well as zygotic cnn expression display defects in nuclear division, chromosome alignment, and microtubule organization, while adult flies that are mosaic for cnn-cells exhibit defects indicative of a block in cell proliferation. We propose that cnn provides an example of homeotic genes directly regulating the accumulation of essential cellular proteins to carry out segment-specific morphogenetic functions.