The proteasome plays a central role in maintaining cellular homeostasis, in controlling the cell cycle, in removing misfolded proteins that can be toxic, and in regulating the immune system. It is also an important target for novel anticancer drugs, such as bortezomib, a potent inhibitor that has been used successfully in the treatment of multiple myeloma. Here, we show that the antimalaria drug chloroquine inhibits proteasome function in eukaryotic cell extracts and in preparations of purified 20S archaeal proteasome from Thermoplasma acidophilium. Methyl-TROSY-based NMR spectroscopy experiments conducted with the 670 kDa 20S proteasome localize chloroquine binding to regions between the alpha and beta subunits of the alpha-beta-beta-alpha barrel-like structure, approximately 20 A from the proteolytic active sites in this 7-fold symmetric molecule. Complementary amide TROSY experiments that provide further probes of proteasome-inhibitor interactions were performed on a novel 180 kDa single-ring construct containing only alpha subunits, the proper assembly of which was confirmed by electron microscopy. In contrast to the chloroquine-proteasome interaction described here, all previously reported inhibitors of the proteasome, including MG132, bind the catalytic region directly. Consistent with the NMR chemical shift perturbation data reported here that place chloroquine binding distal from sites of proteolysis, we show that MG132 and chloroquine can bind the proteasome simultaneously, further establishing that they exploit two completely separate binding pockets. Our data thus establish a novel class of proteasome inhibitor that functions via a mechanism distinct from binding to active sites.