Posttranslational modification by the ubiquitin homologue, small ubiquitin-like modifier 1 (SUMO-1), has been established as an important regulatory mechanism. However, in most cases it is not clear how sumoylation regulates various cellular functions. Emerging evidence suggests that sumoylation may play a general role in regulating protein-protein interactions, as shown in RanBP2/Nup358 and RanGAP1 interaction. In this study, we have defined an amino acid sequence motif that binds SUMO. This motif, V/I-X-V/I-V/I, was identified by NMR spectroscopic characterization of interactions among SUMO-1 and peptides derived from proteins that are known to bind SUMO or sumoylated proteins. This motif binds all SUMO paralogues (SUMO-1-3). Using site-directed mutagenesis, we also show that this SUMO-binding motif in RanBP2/Nup358 is responsible for the interaction between RanBP2/Nup358 and sumoylated RanGAP1. The SUMO-binding motif exists in nearly all proteins known to be involved in SUMO-dependent processes, suggesting its general role in sumoylation-dependent cellular functions.