Yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae contains two genes, RAS1 and RAS2, which show remarkable homology to mammalian ras genes. To characterize these gene products, we have expressed the RAS2 gene in yeast using an inducible GAL10 promoter. After labeling with [35S]methionine and immunoprecipitating with a monoclonal antibody Y13-259, which reacts with p21 encoded by mammalian ras genes, a major band having an apparent molecular weight of 41,000 is detected. This band has also been identified in cell-free translation products of polyadenylated RNA extracted from yeast cells grown in the presence of galactose. Crude extracts of cells expressing the RAS2 gene exhibit guanine nucleotide binding activity. This is detected by incubation with [3H]GDP followed by immunoprecipitation with the antibody Y13-259. The binding of labeled GDP is inhibited by a 20-fold excess of GDP, GTP, and, to a lesser extent, by UTP, a characteristic similar to that possessed by the mammalian ras proteins. However, the activity of the yeast protein differs from that of the mammalian proteins in its strong dependence on temperature. The guanine nucleotide binding activity provides an assay to purify the yeast protein.