Specific binding of plant nuclear proteins to GGTAAA-like motifs in the terminal regions of the transposable elements Ac and Mu1 has been detected in several laboratories. However, the role of these proteins in transposition remains unknown. To test the hypothesis that this binding activity is necessary for transposition, we identified and mutagenized all the binding motifs within the Ds1 element. This analysis enabled us to define more precisely the requirements for binding of the host protein. We then tested the ability of the mutated elements to excise from the maize streak virus (MSV) genome. We found that mutated Ds1 elements that do not bind the host proteins, as determined by gel-shift competition assay, are still capable of undergoing excision in maize, although for one of the maize lines the rate of excision was reduced. Excision of mutated Ds1 elements generated typical excision footprints. These data indicate that binding of host protein(s) to the GGTAAA-like motifs is not essential for Ds1 excision; however, it may contribute to the efficiency of the process.