Using a photoaffinity labeling approach to characterize GDP/GTP-binding proteins of the nuclear envelope, we found that several polypeptides of isolated rat liver nuclear envelopes were photolabeled with [alpha-32P]GDP. One of these labeled proteins, which had an apparent molecular mass of 28 kDa (p28), was highly enriched in nuclear envelopes relative to unfractionated nuclei and was not detectable in fractions of mitochondria, cytosol, and endoplasmic reticulum membranes by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. Thus p28 is specific to the nuclear envelope. Chemical extractions showed that p28 was tightly associated with a subfraction of the nuclear envelope enriched in nuclear pore complexes and lamina. Solubilization of p28 required buffers containing 1% octylglucoside and at least 300 mM KCl. Photolabeling of p28 was specific for GTP and GDP, since no other guanine or adenine nucleotide tested was able to compete efficiently with [alpha-32P]GDP for photolabeling. Added magnesium or manganese cations were not required for photolabeling of p28, and labeling was substantially inhibited with 10 mM MgCl2, 1 mM MnCl2, and KCl concentrations greater than 150 mM. Sucrose density centrifugation showed that detergent-solubilized p28 had a S value of 2.5. The properties of p28 described in this study suggest that it may have a role in functions of the pore complex or lamina.