By a number of criteria, we have demonstrated that the translation termination factor eRF1 (eukaryotic release factor 1) associates with protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A). Trimeric PP2A1 was purified from rabbit skeletal muscle using an affinity purification step. In addition to the 36 kDa catalytic subunit (PP2Ac) and established regulatory subunits of 65 kDa (PR65) and 55 kDa (PR55), purified preparations contained two proteins with apparent Mrs of 54 and 55 kDa. Protein microsequencing revealed that the 55 kDa component is a novel protein, whereas the 54 kDa protein was identified as eRF1, a protein that functions in translational termination as a polypeptide chain release factor. Using the yeast two-hybrid system, human eRF1 was shown to interact specifically with PP2Ac, but not with the PR65 or PR55 subunits. By deletion analysis, the binding domains were found to be located within the 50 N-terminal amino acids of PP2Ac, and between amino acid residues 338 and 381 in the C-terminal part of human eRF1. This association also occurs in vivo, since PP2A can be co-immunoprecipitated with eRF1 from mammalian cells. We observed a significant increase in the amount of PP2A associated with the polysomes when eRF1 was transiently expressed in COS1 cells, and eRF1 immunoprecipitated from those fractions contained associated PP2A. Since we did not observe any dramatic effects of PP2A on the polypeptide chain release activity of eRF1 (or vice versa), we postulate that eRF1 also functions to recruit PP2A into polysomes, thus bringing the phosphatase into contact with putative targets among the components of the translational apparatus.