Poly(A) polymerase is essential for the maturation of messenger RNA, adding tracts of adenosine residues to the 3' end of precursor RNA generated by endonucleolytic cleavage. This mechanism of mRNA 3' processing seems to be similar in yeast and in higher eucaryotes, although there are differences in the recognition signals in the pre-mRNA. Here we describe the cloning of the gene for yeast poly(A) polymerase. The enzyme is encoded by a single and essential gene located near the centromere on the left arm of chromosome 11. Poly(A) polymerase purified from recombinant Escherichia coli has the same physical and biochemical properties as the yeast enzyme. The yeast poly(A) polymerase shares features of sequence with its mammalian homologue.