H19 RNA is a major oncofetal 2.5-kilobase untranslated RNA of unknown function. The maternally expressed H19 gene is located 90 kilobase pairs downstream from the paternally expressed insulin-like growth factor II (IGF-II) gene on human chromosome 11 and mouse chromosome 7; and due to their reciprocal imprinting and identical spatiotemporal expression, it is assumed that the two genes are functionally coupled. Here we show that human H19 RNA contains four attachment sites for the oncofetal IGF-II mRNA-binding protein (IMP) with apparent K(d) values in the 0.4-1.3 nm range. The multiple attachment sites are clustered within a 700-nucleotide segment encoded by exons 4 and 5. This 3'-terminal segment targets H19 RNA to lamellipodia and perinuclear regions in dispersed fibroblasts where IMP is also localized. The results suggest that IMP participates in H19 RNA localization and provides a link between the IGF-II and H19 genes at post-transcriptional events during mammalian development.