Using a stringent purification procedure on single-stranded DNA cellulose, we have isolated the mitochondrial single-stranded DNA-binding protein from Drosophila melanogaster embryos. Its identity is demonstrated by amino-terminal sequencing of the homogeneous protein and by its localization to a mitochondrial protein fraction. The mitochondrial protein is immunologically and biochemically distinct from the previously characterized nuclear replication protein A from Drosophila (Mitsis, P. G., Kowalczykowski, S. C., and Lehman, I. R. (1993) Biochemistry 32, 5257-5266; Marton, R. F., Thömmes, P., and Cotterill, S. (1994) FEBS Lett. 342, 139-144). It consists of a single polypeptide of 18 kDa, which is responsible for the DNA binding activity. Sedimentation analysis suggests that D. melanogaster mitochondrial single-stranded DNA-binding protein exists as a homo-oligomer, possibly a tetramer, in solution. The protein binds to DNA in its single-stranded form with a strong preference over double-stranded DNA or RNA, and binds to polypyrimidines preferentially over polypurines. Drosophila mitochondrial single-stranded DNA-binding protein exhibits a greater affinity for long oligonucleotides as compared to short ones, yet does not show high cooperativity. Its binding site size, determined by competition studies and by fluorescence quenching, is approximately 17 nucleotides under low salt conditions, and increases in the presence of greater than 150 mM NaCl. The homogeneous protein stimulates the activity of mitochondrial DNA polymerase from D. melanogaster embryos, increasing dramatically the rate of initiation of DNA synthesis on a singly primed DNA template.