In the meiotic prophase nucleus of the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, chromosomes are arranged in an oriented manner: telomeres cluster in close proximity to the spindle pole body (SPB), while centromeres form another cluster at some distance from the SPB. We have isolated a mutant, kms1, in which the structure of the meiotic prophase nucleus appears to be distorted. Using specific probes to localize the SPB and telomeres, multiple signals were observed in the mutant nuclei, in contrast to the case in wild-type. Genetic analysis showed that in the mutant, meiotic recombination frequency was reduced to about one-quarter of the wild-type level and meiotic segregation was impaired. This phenotype strongly suggests that the telomere-led rearrangement of chromosomal distribution that normally occurs in the fission yeast meiotic nucleus is an important prerequisite for the efficient pairing of homologous chromosomes. The kms1 mutant was also impaired in karyogamy, suggesting that the kms1+ gene is involved in SPB function. However, the kms1+ gene is dispensable for mitotic growth. The predicted amino acid sequence of the gene product shows no significant similarity to known proteins.