Whilst investigating whether GTP hydrolysis may be required for the import of preproteins into mitochondria we have found that a GTP-binding protein is located at the contact sites between mitochondrial inner and outer membranes. When mitochondrial outer membranes purified from rat liver were UV-irradiated in the presence of [alpha-32P]GTP, a 52 kDa protein was radiolabelled, whereas [alpha-32P]ATP did not label this protein. GTP-binding proteins were also labelled in the cytosolic and microsomal fractions, but the 52 kDa protein was concentrated in mitochondrial membranes and was the only protein specifically labelled by GTP in these membranes. Fractionation of mitochondrial membrane vesicles into outer membranes, inner membranes and contact sites between outer and inner membranes showed that the GTP-binding activity was highly enriched in contact sites, the location at which preprotein import is believed to occur. A protein of almost identical size was also found to be labelled in mitochondria from yeast.