It has previously been shown that influenza virus NS1 protein enhances the translation of viral but not cellular mRNAs. This enhancement occurs by increasing the rate of translation initiation and requires the 5'UTR sequence, common to all viral mRNAs. In agreement with these findings, we show here that viral mRNAs, but not cellular mRNAs, are associated with NS1 during virus infection. We have previously reported that NS1 interacts with the translation initiation factor eIF4GI, next to its poly(A)-binding protein 1 (PABP1)-interacting domain and that NS1 and eIF4GI are associated in influenza virus-infected cells. Here we show that NS1, although capable of binding poly(A), does not compete with PABP1 for association with eIF4GI and, furthermore, that NS1 and PABP1 interact both in vivo and in vitro in an RNA-independent manner. The interaction maps between residues 365 and 535 in PABP1 and between residues 1 and 81 in NS1. These mapping studies, together with those previously reported for NS1-eIF4GI and PABP1-eIF4GI interactions, imply that the binding of all three proteins would be compatible. Collectively, these and previously published data suggest that NS1 interactions with eIF4GI and PABP1, as well as with viral mRNAs, could promote the specific recruitment of 43S complexes to the viral mRNAs.