An anti-RNA autoantibody (anti-28S) was employed to identify structural and functional elements characteristic of a domain termed the 'GTPase center' in eukaryotic 28S ribosomal RNA. This antibody, an inhibitor of ribosome-associated GTP hydrolysis, has a unique property: it binds to the RNA domain of eukaryotes but not to that of prokaryotes. The antibody binding occurred in the presence of Mg2+ and protected from chemical modification three conserved bases (U1958, G1960 and A1990) and the base G1959 which is replaced by A in prokaryotic 23S rRNA (A1067 in Escherichia coli). In vitro substitution of G1959 to A drastically weakened the antibody binding, and the reciprocal substitution, A1067-->G of the E.coli domain conferred the binding ability. This suggests that the G base determines the specificity of antibody binding. The G1959 was also protected by the association of ribosomes with elongation factor EF-2. The result, together with protection of E.coli base A1067 by EFG [D.Moazed, I.M.Robertson and H.F.Noller (1988) Nature, 334, 362-364], suggests that the position of G1959 in eukaryotes and A1067 in prokaryotes constitutes at least part of the factor binding site irrespective of the base replacement during evolution.