Saccharomyces cerevisiae RNA polymerase II conditional mutants that selectively disrupt the synthesis of specific mRNAs were isolated. At the permissive temperature, several of the mutants were inositol auxotrophs as a result of inadequate induction of INO1 transcription. The transcriptional defects exhibited by one of these Ino- mutants (rpb2-2) were further investigated. The induction of GAL10 and HIS4 transcription in rpb2-2 strains was similar to that of wild-type strains, in contrast to the lack of induction of INO1 transcription. When shifted to the nonpermissive temperature, cells containing rpb2-2 continued to accumulate some mRNAs but not others. Together, these results indicate that transcription of specific genes can be disrupted by RNA polymerase II mutations. The rpb2-2 allele alters an amino acid residue that occurs in a highly conserved segment of the RPB2 protein and that is shared by homologous subunits in other species.