The protein encoded by the RAP1 gene of S. cerevisiae binds in vitro to a consensus sequence occurring at a number of sites in the yeast genome, including the repeated sequence C2-3A(CA)1-6 found at yeast telomeres. We present two lines of evidence for the in vivo binding of RAP1 protein at telomeres: first, RAP1 is present in telomeric chromatin and second, alterations in the level of RAP1 protein affect telomere length. The length changes seen with under- and overexpression of RAP1 are consistent with the interpretation that RAP1 binding to telomeres protects them from degradation. Unexpectedly, overproduction of the RAP1 protein was also shown to decrease greatly chromosome stability, suggesting that RAP1 mediates interactions that have a more global effect on chromosome behavior than simply protecting telomeres from degradation. Such interactions may involve telomere associations both with other telomeres and/or with structural elements of the nucleus.