We have previously shown that in Dictyostelium cells a 32 kDa protein is rapidly and completely dephosphorylated in response to starvation that is essential for the initiation of differentiation (Akiyama & Maeda 1992). In the present work, this phosphoprotein was identified as a homologue (Dd-RPS6) of ribosomal protein S6 (RPS6) that is an essential member for protein synthesis. As expected, Dd-RPS6 seems to be absolutely required for cell survival, because we failed to obtain antisense-RNA mediated cells as well as Dd-rps6-null cells by homologous recombination in spite of many trials. In many kinds of cell lines, RPS6 is known to be located in the nucleus and cytosol, but Dd-RPS6 is predominantly located in the cell cortex with cytoskeletons, and in the contractile ring of just-dividing cells. In this connection, the overexpression of Dd-RPS6 greatly impairs cytokinesis during axenic shake-cultures in growth medium, resulting in the formation of multinucleate cells. Much severe impairment of cytokinesis was observed when Dd-RPS6-overexpressing cells (Dd-RPS6(OE) cells) were incubated on a living Escherichia coli lawn. The initiation of differentiation triggered by starvation was also delayed in Dd-RPS6(OE) cells. In addition, Dd-RPS6(OE) cells exhibit defective differentiation into prespore cells and spores during late development. Thus, it is likely that the proper expression of Dd-RPS6 may be of importance for the normal progression of late differentiation as well as for the initiation of differentiation.