RNA-binding proteins are involved in the regulation of many aspects of eukaryotic gene expression. Targeted interference with RNA-protein interactions could offer novel approaches to modulation of expression profiles, alteration of developmental pathways, and reversal of certain disease processes. Here we investigate a decoy strategy for the study of the alphaCP subgroup of KH-domain RNA-binding proteins. These poly(C)-binding proteins have been implicated in a wide spectrum of posttranscriptional controls. Three categories of RNA decoys to alphaCPs were studied: poly(C) homopolymers, native mRNA-binding sites, and a high-affinity structure selected from a combinatorial library. Native chemistry was found to be essential for alphaCP decoy action. Because alphaCP proteins are found in both the nucleus and cytoplasm, decoy cassettes were incorporated within both nuclear (U1 snRNA) and cytoplasmic (VA1 RNA) RNA frameworks. Several sequences demonstrated optimal decoy properties when assayed for protein-binding and decoy bioactivity in vitro. A subset of these transcripts was shown to mediate targeted inhibition of alphaCP-dependent translation when expressed in either the nucleus or cytoplasm of transfected cells. Significantly, these studies establish the feasibility of developing RNA decoys that can selectively target biologic functions of abundant and widely expressed RNA binding proteins.