The self-incompatibility response involves S-allele specific recognition between stigmatic S proteins and incompatible pollen, resulting in S-specific pollen inhibition. In Papaver rhoeas, the pollen S gene product is predicted to be a receptor that interacts with the stigmatic S protein in an S specific manner. We recently identified an S protein binding protein (SBP) in pollen that binds stigmatic S proteins, although apparently not in an S-allele-specific manner. In order to investigate the functional significance of the interaction between S proteins and SBP, we constructed mutant derivatives of the S1 protein and tested their SBP-binding activity and their biological activity. Here we present an evaluation of nine mutant derivatives of the S1 protein. Western ligand blotting was used to show that mutations to amino acid residues in predicted loops 2 and 6 of the S1 protein cause significant reductions in their SBP-binding activity. These same mutants show a concomitant reduction in their ability to inhibit incompatible pollen. This establishes a direct link between SBP binding and inhibition of incompatible pollen and implicates SBP as a pollen component playing a key role in the self-incompatibility reaction. We discuss the possible nature of the contribution of SBP in the S-specific rejection of incompatible pollen.