Temperature-sensitive yeast mutants defective in gene CDC24 continued to grow (i.e., increase in cell mass and cell volume) at restrictive temperature (36 degrees C) but were unable to form buds. Staining with the fluorescent dye Calcofluor showed that the mutants were also unable to form normal bud scars (the discrete chitin rings formed in the cell wall at budding sites) at 36 degrees C; instead, large amounts of chitin were deposited randomly over the surfaces of the growing unbudded cells. Labeling of cell-wall mannan with fluorescein isothiocyanate-conjugated concanavalin A suggested that mannan incorporation was also delocalized in mutant cells grown at 36 degrees C. Although the mutants have well-defined execution points just before bud emergence, inactivation of the CDC24 gene product in budded cells led both to selective growth of mother cells rather than of buds and to delocalized chitin deposition, indicating that the CDC24 gene product functions in the normal localization of growth in budded as well as in unbudded cells. Growth of the mutant strains at temperatures less than 36 degrees C revealed allele-specific differences in behavior. Two strains produced buds of abnormal shape during growth at 33 degrees C. Moreover, these same strains displayed abnormal localization of budding sites when growth at 24 degrees C (the normal permissive temperature for the mutants); in each case, the abnormal pattern of budding sites segregated with the temperature sensitivity in crosses. Thus, the CDC24 gene product seems to be involved in selection of the budding site, formation of the chitin ring at that site, the subsequent localization of new cell wall growth to the budding site and the growing bud, and the balance between tip growth and uniform growth of the bud that leads to the normal cell shape.