The contribution made by the RNA component of signal recognition particle (SRP) to its function in protein targeting is poorly understood. We have generated a complete secondary structure for Saccharomyces cerevisiae SRP RNA, scR1. The structure conforms to that of other eukaryotic SRP RNAs. It is rod-shaped with, at opposite ends, binding sites for proteins required for the SRP functions of signal sequence recognition (S-domain) and translational elongation arrest (Alu-domain). Micrococcal nuclease digestion of purified S. cerevisiae SRP separated the S-domain of the RNA from the Alu-domain as a discrete fragment. The Alu-domain resolved into several stable fragments indicating a compact structure. Comparison of scR1 with SRP RNAs of five yeast species related to S. cerevisiae revealed the S-domain to be the most conserved region of the RNA. Extending data from nuclease digestion with phylogenetic comparison, we built the secondary structure model for scR1. The Alu-domain contains large extensions, including a sequence with hallmarks of an expansion segment. Evolutionarily conserved bases are placed in the Alu- and S-domains as in other SRP RNAs, the exception being an unusual GU(4)A loop closing the helix onto which the signal sequence binding Srp54p assembles (domain IV). Surprisingly, several mutations within the predicted Srp54p binding site failed to disrupt SRP function in vivo. However, the strength of the Srp54p-scR1 and, to a lesser extent, Sec65p-scR1 interaction was decreased in these mutant particles. The availability of a secondary structure for scR1 will facilitate interpretation of data from genetic analysis of the RNA.