Lrp (leucine-responsive regulatory protein) is a major regulatory protein involved in the expression of numerous operons in Escherichia coli. For ilvIH, one of the operons positively regulated by Lrp, Lrp binds to multiple sites upstream of the transcriptional start site and activates transcription. An alignment of 12 Lrp binding sites within ilvIH DNA from two different organisms revealed a tentative consensus sequence AGAAT TTTATTCT (Q. Wang, M. Sacco, E. Ricca, C. T. Lago, M. DeFelice, and J. M. Calvo, Mol. Microbiol. 7:883-891, 1993). To further characterize the binding specificity of Lrp, we used a variation of the Selex procedure of C. Tuerk and L. Gold (Science 249:505-510, 1990) to identify sequences that bound Lrp out of a pool of 1012 different DNA molecules. We identified 63 related DNA sequences that bound Lrp and estimated their relative binding affinities for Lrp. A consensus sequence derived from analysis of these sequences, YAGHAWATTWT DCTR, where Y = C or T, H = not G, W = A or T, D = not C, and R = A or G, contains clear dyad symmetry and is very similar to the one defined earlier. To test the idea that Lrp in the presence of leucine might bind to a different subset of DNA sequences, we carried out a second selection experiment with leucine present during the binding reactions. DNA sequences selected in the presence or absence of leucine were similar, and leucine did not stimulate binding to any of the sequences that were selected in the presence of leucine. Therefore, it is unlikely that leucine changes the specificity of Lrp binding.