To identify specific proteins interacting with guide RNAs (gRNAs) in mitochondrial ribonucleoprotein complexes from Leishmania tarentolae, fractionated and unfractionated mitochondrial extracts were subjected to UV cross-linking with added labeled gRNA and also with [alpha-32P]UTP-labeled endogenous RNA. An abundant 110-kDa protein (p110) localized in the T-V complex, which sediments in glycerol gradients at the leading edge of the 10S terminal uridylyltransferase peak, was found to interact with both types of labeled RNAs. The p110 protein was gel isolated and subjected to microsequence analysis, and the gene was cloned. The sequence revealed significant similarity with mitochondrial glutamate dehydrogenases. A polyclonal antiserum was raised against a recombinant fragment of the p110 gene and was used to demonstrate a stable and specific gRNA-binding activity by coimmunoprecipitation and competitive gel shift analyses. Complex formation was strongly inhibited by competition with poly(U) or by deletion or substitution of the gRNA 3' oligo(U) tail. Also, addition of a 3' oligo(U) tail to an unrelated transcript was sufficient for p110 binding. Both the gRNA-binding activity of the p110 protein and in vitro gRNA-independent and gRNA-dependent uridine insertion activities in the mitochondrial extract were inhibited by high concentrations of dinucleotides.