The C-terminal CAAX motif of ras proteins undergoes a triplet of posttranslational modifications that are required for membrane association. The CAAX motif lies immediately C-terminal to the hypervariable domain, a region of 20 amino acids that distinguishes the ras proteins from each other. The hypervariable domains of p21H-ras, p21N-ras, and p21K-ras(A) contain sites for palmitoylation, which we now show must combine with the CAAX motif to target specific plasma membrane localization. Within the hypervariable domain of p21K-ras(B), which is not palmitoylated, we have identified a novel plasma membrane targeting signal consisting of a polybasic domain that also acts in combination with the CAAX motif. One function of the hypervariable domains of p21ras is therefore to provide different signals for plasma membrane localization.