We previously reported that the FLA10 locus on the uni linkage group of Chlamydomonas encodes a kinesin homologous protein, KHP1. The fla10 phenotype, which is a temperature-sensitive defect for flagellar assembly and maintenance, is rescued by transformation with the wild-type KHP1 gene. In the present study we identify the molecular defect associated with the fla10 mutation and examine the subcellular localization of KHP1 throughout the cell cycle. The mutation in the fla10-1 allele consists of a C to A transversion, which alters amino acid 329 in the motor domain of KHP1. This residue and the sequence of the carboxy-terminal third of the motor domain in which it is located are highly conserved throughout eukaryotic evolution in a subfamily of kinesin-related proteins from mouse (KIF3), sea urchin (KRP85/95), Xenopus (XKLP3), and Drosophila (KLP68D). These data suggest a conserved function for this family of proteins. Immunofluorescence studies reveal that: (1) in interphase cells KHP1 is associated with basal bodies and with the proximal portion of the flagella; (2) in cells undergoing flagellar regeneration KHP1 occurs in punctate structures that extend to the tip of the developing axoneme; and (3) in dividing cells KHP1 remains associated with centrioles throughout mitosis and localizes to the mitotic spindle. KHP1 is the first kinesin homologous protein to be found in association with basal bodies and centrioles throughout the cell cycle. These observations provide evidence for a direct role of basal bodies in the process of flagellar development, which we propose is based on KHP1 acting as a transporter of flagellar components from the basal bodies out to the distal site of assembly. The localization of KHP1 in mitosis suggests that this protein may play an analogous role in the centriole-based assembly of the mitotic spindle.