Genes CDC24 and CDC42 are required for the establishment of cell polarity and for bud formation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Temperature-sensitive (Ts-) mutations in either of these genes cause arrest as large, unbudded cells in which the nuclear cycle continues. MSB1 was identified previously as a multicopy suppressor of Ts- cdc24 and cdc42 mutations. We have now sequenced MSB1 and constructed a deletion of this gene. The predicted amino acid sequence does not closely resemble any other in the available data bases, and the deletion does not produce any readily detectable phenotype. However, we have used a colony-sectoring assay to identify additional genes that appear to interact with MSB1 and play a role in bud emergence. Starting with a strain deleted for the chromosomal copy of MSB1 but containing MSB1 on a high-copy-number plasmid, mutants were identified in which MSB1 had become essential for viability. The new mutations defined two genes, BEM1 and BEM2; both the bem1 and bem2 mutations are temperature sensitive and are only partially suppressed by MSB1. In bem1 cells, a single copy of MSB1 is necessary and sufficient for viability at 23 or 30 degrees C, but even multiple copies of MSB1 do not fully suppress the growth defect at 37 degrees C. In bem2 cells, a single copy of MSB1 is necessary and sufficient for viability at 23 degrees C, multiple copies are necessary for viability at 30 degrees C, and even multiple copies of MSB1 do not suppress the growth defect at 37 degrees C. In a wild-type background (i.e., a single chromosomal copy of MSB1), both bem1 and bem2 mutations cause cells to become large and multinucleate even during growth at 23 degrees C, suggesting that these genes are involved in bud emergence. This suggestion is supported for BEM1 by other evidence obtained in a parallel study (J. Chant, K. Corrado, J. Pringle, and I. Herskowitz, submitted for publication). BEM1 maps centromere distal to TYR1 on chromosome II, and BEM2 maps between SPT15 and STP2 on chromosome V.