We show that a functional component of the C. elegans mitotic machinery regulates X chromosome gene expression. This protein, MIX-1, is a member of the dosage compensation complex that associates specifically with hermaphrodite X chromosomes to reduce their gene expression during interphase. MIX-1 also associates with all mitotic chromosomes to ensure their proper segregation. Both dosage compensation and mitosis are severely disrupted by mix-1 mutations. MIX-1 belongs to the SMC protein family required for mitotic chromosome condensation and segregation in yeast and frogs. Thus, an essential, conserved component of mitotic chromosomes has been recruited to the dosage compensation process. Rather than dosage compensation and mitosis being achieved by two separate sets of related genes, these two processes share an identical component, indicating a common mechanism for establishing higher order chromosome structure and proper X chromosome gene expression.