The LC1 light chain from Chlamydomonas outer arm dynein is tightly bound to the gamma heavy chain. Molecular cloning revealed that LC1 is a member of the SDS22+ subclass of the leucine-rich repeat protein family and as such is likely involved in mediating interactions between dynein and the components of a signal transduction pathway. Through the combination of covalent cross-linking and vanadate-mediated photolysis, LC1 was found to associate with that portion of the gamma HC that is C-terminal to the P1 loop. This region comprises most of the globular head domain of the heavy chain and includes the stalk-like structure that is involved in microtubule binding. Attachment of LC1 to this region represents the only known example of an accessory polypeptide directly associated with a dynein motor domain. Additional cross-linking experiments revealed that LC1 also interacts directly in situ with an approximately 45 kDa axonemal component; this interaction is disrupted by the standard high salt treatment used to remove the outer arm from the axoneme. These data suggest that LC1 acts to mediate the association between this 45 kDa axonemal polypeptide and the motor unit of the gamma HC.