Twenty-three temperature-sensitive mutants of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, all of which undergo a rapid cessation of net RNA accumulation following a shift from the permissive (23°) to the restrictive temperature (36°), have been characterized. Genetic studies demonstrate that these mutants belong to ten different complementation groups and that, in most cases, their properties are the result of a single, recessive mutation in a nuclear gene. Although the mutants were isolated for heat sensitivity, mutants from 2 of the complementation groups are cold sensitive (at 13°) as well. The mutants continue to synthesize protein, including an enzyme, alkaline phosphatase, for two to four hours following a shift from 23° to 36°, suggesting that they are capable of messenger RNA synthesis and the translation of messenger RNA with fidelity at the restrictive temperature. The small amount of RNA that is synthesized in these mutants at the restrictive temperature has been examined on sucrose gradients and by acrylmide gel electrophoresis; in addition, the RNA components in polyribosomes have been fractionated by a new technique that separates messenger RNA from ribosomal RNA. As a result of these analyses we conclude that these mutants are strongly inhibited in the accumulation of 5S, 7S, 17S, and 25S RNA components but are only slight if at all inhibited in the synthesis of messenger RNA and 4S RNA. The results reported here define ten genes, designated rna 2 through rna 11, that play an essential role in the formation or maturation of ribosomes in yeast.