Single nucleotides in plant chloroplast transcripts are edited from the genomically encoded C to U, often resulting in changes of the encoded protein sequence. Site-specific trans-acting factors are postulated to direct the selection of edited residues. In order to further define cis sequences required for RNA editing, we investigated whether two editing sites present in maize rpoB mRNA would be recognized by the editing machinery of transformed tobacco chloroplasts. A 93-nucleotide (nt) segment surrounding site I is sufficient to direct editing of the maize sequence in tobacco chloroplasts. However, an 86-nt segment surrounding maize site IV (which is genomically encoded as a T in tobacco) does not confer editing of this site, suggesting that trans-acting factors necessary for recognition of site IV are not present in tobacco. The maize sequences surrounding site I were found to compete with the endogenous rpoB for a depletable trans factor and to reduce editing of endogenous site I. The presence of exogenous maize site I was also found to decrease editing of endogenous tobacco site II, indicating that there is a shared aspect of editing for some closely spaced editing sites.