The N-terminal nucleotide binding folds of all 10 class I tRNA synthetases (RSs) contain characteristic conserved sequence motifs that define this class of synthetases. Sequences of C-terminal domains, which in some cases are known to interact with anticodons, are divergent. In the 676-amino acid Escherichia coli methionyl-tRNA synthetase (MetRS), interactions with the methionine tRNA anticodon are sensitive to substitutions at a specific location on the surface of the C-terminal domain of this protein of known three-dimensional structure. Although four class I synthetases of heterogeneous lengths and unknown structures are believed to be historically related to MetRS, pair-wise sequence similarities in the region of this RNA binding determinant are obscure. A multiple alignment of all sequences of three of these synthetases with all MetRS sequences suggested a location for the functional analog of the anticodon-binding site in these enzymes. We chose a member of this set for alignment-guided mutagenesis, combined with a functional analysis of mutant proteins. Substitutions within two amino acids of the site fixed by the multiple sequence alignment severely affected interactions with tRNA but not with ATP or amino acid. Multiple individual replacements at this location do not disrupt enzyme stability, indicating this segment is on the surface, as in the MetRS structure. The results suggest the location of an RNA binding determinant in each of these three synthetases of unknown structure.