HuD is a human neuronal specific RNA-binding protein. In this study we have purified HuD and examined its RNA binding properties in detail. HuD binds to mRNAs that contain an AU-rich element with high affinity. In the case of the c-fos AU-rich element, HuD binds to a 27-nucleotide core element comprising AUUUA, AUUUUA, and AUUUUUA motifs. Mutation in any two of these motifs abrogates binding. HuD contains two tandem RNA recognition motifs (RRM), a basic domain, and a third RRM. Deletion analysis has shown that only the first and second RRMs are essential for RNA binding. Thus, these specific RNA binding properties support the idea that the HuD regulates gene expression at the posttranscriptional level.