Chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) binds to the envelope membrane of actively dividing chloroplasts (plastids) in young pea leaves. South-western blotting was used to identify and characterize the protein involved in the binding of cpDNA to the envelope membrane. A 130 kDa protein in the inner chloroplast (plastid) envelope membrane binds specific sequences within the cpDNA. These included a 0.41 kbp sequence located upstream of the psaAB gene, a 0.57 kbp sequence located downstream of the petA gene and a 1.2 kbp sequence located within the rpoC2 gene. The protein was detected in the envelope membrane of young pea leaves in which the cpDNA had been located by fluorescence microscopy at the chloroplast periphery, whereas it was undetectable in mature leaves. We therefore propose that the 130 kDa protein is involved in the binding of cpDNA to the envelope membrane, and named it plastid envelope DNA-binding protein.