TEL2 is required for telomere length regulation and viability in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. To investigate the mechanism by which Tel2p regulates telomere length, the majority (65%) of the TEL2 ORF was fused to the 3'-end of the gene for maltose binding protein, expressed in bacteria and the purified protein used in DNA binding studies. Rap1p, the major yeast telomere binding protein, recognizes a 13 bp duplex site 5'-GGTGTGTGGGTGT-3' in yeast telomeric DNA with high affinity. Gel shift experiments revealed that the MBP-Tel2p fusion binds the double-stranded yeast telomeric Rap1p site in a sequence-specific manner. Analysis of mutated sites showed that MBP-Tel2p could bind 5'-GTGTGTGG-3' within this 13 bp site. Methylation interference analysis revealed that Tel2p contacts the 5'-terminal guanine in the major groove. MBP-Tel2p did not bind duplex telomeric DNA repeats from vertebrates, Tetrahymena or Oxytricha. These results suggest that Tel2p is a DNA binding protein that recognizes yeast telomeric DNA.