The yeast Kluyveromyces lactis was mutagenized with ethyl methane sulphonate and mutants unable to grow on respiratory carbon sources were isolated. Functional complementation of one of these mutants led to the isolation of KICOX14, a gene encoding a 64 amino acid protein which is the functional homologue of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Cox14p, a protein necessary for the assembly of the cytochrome oxidase holoenzyme (Glerum et al., 1995). The disruption of KlCOX14 resulted in the absence of the absorption bands relative to cytochromes a and a(3) and in the complete loss of respiratory activity. Klcox14 mutants display the typical phenotype of pet mutants and have a reduced growth rate. In addition, unlike the wild-type, Klcox14 mutants are able to grow by fermentation also in the presence of low glucose. The nucleotide sequence of KlCOX14 has been deposited in the EMBL databank with Accession No. AJ238801. Copyright (C) 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.