In Saccharomyces cerevisiae the metabolite phosphoribosyl-pyrophosphate (PRPP) is required for purine, pyrimidine, tryptophan and histidine biosynthesis. Enzymes that can synthesize PRPP can be encoded by at least four genes. We have studied 5-phospho-ribosyl-1(alpha)-pyrophosphate synthetases (PRS) genetically and biochemically. Each of the four genes, all of which are transcribed, has been disrupted in haploid yeast strains of each mating type and although all disruptants are able to grow on complete medium, differences in growth rate and enzyme activity suggest that disruption of PRS1 or PRS3 has a significant effect on cell metabolism, whereas disruption of PRS2 or PRS4 has little measurable effect. Using Western blot analysis with antisera raised against peptides derived from the non-homology region (NHR) and the N-terminal half of the PRS1 gene product it has been shown that the NHR is not removed by protein splicing. However, the fact that disruption of this gene causes the most dramatic decrease in cell growth rate and enzyme activity suggests that Prs1p may have a key structural or regulatory role in the production of PRPP in the cell.