Using complementary oligonucleotide probes, we have isolated the nuclear gene for the RNA moiety of RNAase MRP; it is present as a single copy and encodes an uncapped primary transcript of 275 nucleotides. Direct sequence analysis revealed that the 136 nucleotide RNA that copurifies with RNAase MRP represents the 3' half of the 275 nucleotide primary transcript. The 5'-flanking region of the gene has putative transcriptional control elements homologous to the promoters of RNA polymerase II-transcribed U-series snRNA genes; however, the coding region possesses a box A sequence and terminates at four T residues, both features characteristic of polymerase III-transcribed genes. A decamer sequence, 5'-CGA-CCCCUCC-3', complementary to a conserved sequence adjacent to the enzymatic cleavage site on the mitochondrial RNA substrate, is present in the RNAase MRP RNA. Isolation of a nuclear gene for the RNA component of a mitochondrial enzyme implies that nucleic acids can be transported across mitochondrial membranes.