Pokeweed antiviral protein (PAP), a single chain ribosome-inactivating protein (RIP) isolated from pokeweed plants (Phytolacca americana), removes specific adenine and guanine residues from the highly conserved, α-sarcin/ricin loop in the large rRNA, resulting in inhibition of protein synthesis. We recently demonstrated that PAP could also inhibit translation of mRNAs and viral RNAs that are capped by binding to the cap structure and depurinating the RNAs downstream of the cap. Cell growth is inhibited when PAP cDNA is expressed in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae under the control of the galactose-inducible GAL1 promoter. Here, we show that overexpression of wild type PAP in yeast leads to a decrease in PAP mRNA abundance. The decrease in mRNA levels is not observed with an active site mutant, indicating that it is due to the N-glycosidase activity of the protein. PAP expression had no effect on steady state levels of mRNA MRNA from four different endogenous yeast genes examined, indicating specificity. We demonstrate that PAP can depurinate the rRNA in trans in a translation-independent manner. When rRNA is depurinated and translation is inhibited, the steady state levels of PAP mRNA increase dramatically relative to the U3 snoRNA. Using a PAP variant which depurinates rRNA, inhibits translation but does not destabilize its mRNA, we demonstrate that PAP mRNA is destabilized after its levels are up-regulated by a mechanism that occurs independently of rRNA depurination and translation. We quantify the extent of rRNA depurination in vivo using a novel primer extension assay and show that the temporal pattern of rRNA depurination is similar to the pattern of PAP mRNA destabilization, suggesting that they may occur by a common mechanism. These results provide the first in vivo evidence that a single chain RIP targets not only the large rRNA but also its own mRNA. These findings have implications for understanding the biological function of RIPs.