Spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1) is an autosomal-dominant neurodegenerative disorder characterized by ataxia and progressive motor deterioration. SCA1 is associated with an elongated polyglutamine tract in ataxin-1, the SCA1 gene product. Using the yeast two-hybrid system and co-immunoprecipitation experiments, we have found that p80 coilin, coiled body-specific protein, binds to ataxin-1. In further experiments with deletion mutants, we found that the C-terminal regions of ataxin-1 and p80 coilin were essential for this interaction. In HeLa cells that have been co-transfected with ataxin-1 and p80 coilin, the p80 coilin protein co-localizes with ataxin-1 aggregates in the nucleoplasm. However, immunohistochemical analysis and immunofluorescence assays showed that mutant ataxin-1 aggregates do not redistribute p80 coilin's dot-like structures in the Purkinje cells of SCA1 transgenic mice. This feature of the interaction between ataxin-1 and p80 coilin suggests that p80 coilin might be implicated in altering the function of ataxin-1.