Understanding the relationship between chromatin and proteins at the nuclear periphery, such as the conserved SUN family of inner nuclear membrane (INM) proteins, is necessary to elucidate how three-dimensional nuclear architecture is established and maintained. We found that the budding yeast SUN protein Mps3 directly binds to the histone variant H2A.Z but not other histones. Biochemical and genetic data indicate that the interaction between Mps3 and H2A.Z requires the Mps3 N-terminal acidic domain and unique sequences in the H2A.Z N terminus and histone-fold domain. Analysis of binding-defective mutants showed that the Mps3-H2A.Z interaction is not essential for any previously described role for either protein in nuclear organization, and multiple lines of evidence suggest that Mps3-H2A.Z binding occurs independently of H2A.Z incorporation into chromatin. We demonstrate that H2A.Z is required to target a soluble Mps3 fragment to the nucleus and to localize full-length Mps3 in the INM, indicating that H2A.Z has a novel chromatin-independent function in INM targeting of SUN proteins.