We have delineated the region of yeast ribosomal protein L25 responsible for its specific binding to 26 S rRNA by a novel approach using in vitro synthesized, [35S]methionine-labeled fragments as well as point mutants of the L25 protein. The rRNA binding capacity of these mutant polypeptides was tested by incubation with an in vitro transcribed, biotinylated fragment of yeast 26 S rRNA that contains the complete L25 binding site. Protein-rRNA interaction was assayed by binding of the rRNA-r-protein complex to streptavidin-agarose followed either by analysis of the bound polypeptide by SDS/polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis or by precipitation with trichloroacetic acid. Our results show that the structural elements necessary and sufficient for specific interaction of L25 with 26 S rRNA are contained in the region bordered by amino acids 62 and 126. The remaining parts of the protein, in particular the C-terminal 16 residues, while not essential for binding, do enhance its affinity for 26 S rRNA. To test whether, as suggested by the results of the deletion experiments, the evolutionarily conserved sequence motif K120KAYVRL126 is involved in rRNA binding, we replaced the leucine residue at position 126 by either isoleucine or lysine. The first substitution did not affect binding. The second, however, completely abolished the specific rRNA binding capacity of the protein. Thus, Leu126, and possibly the whole conserved sequence motif, plays a key role in binding of L25 to 26 S rRNA.