An RNA oligonucleotide that contains the binding site for Escherichia coli ribosomal protein S8 was prepared with uniform 15N isotopic enrichment and uniform deuterium enrichment at all non-exchangeable sites using enzymatic methods. The RNA binding site, which contains 44 nt, forms a hairpin in solution and requires Mg2+for proper folding. The longitudinal magnetization recovery rates of the exchangeable protons were compared for the [2H,15N]-enriched RNA molecule and for the corresponding fully [2H,15N]-enriched RNA hairpin. It was found that 1H-1H dipolar relaxation significantly contributes to the recovery of exchangeable proton longitudinal magnetization. The exchangeable proton resonance line widths were less affected by deuteration, indicating that chemical exchange with H2O remains the dominant mechanism of transverse magnetization relaxation. Nevertheless, deuteration of this RNA hairpin was found to enhance the sensitivity of NOE-based experiments relative to the fully protonated hairpin and to simplify 2D NMR spectra. The increased signal-to-noise ratio facilitated the assignment of the cytidine amino resonances and several of the purine nucleotide amino resonances and permitted the identification of NOE crosspeaks that could not be observed in spectra of the fully protonated RNA hairpin.