Activation of cGMP phosphodiesterase (PDE) by the rod G-protein transducin is a key event in visual signal transduction in vertebrate photoreceptor cells. Interaction between the GTP-bound form of the alpha-subunit of transducin (alpha t*) and the PDE inhibitory gamma-subunit (P gamma) is a major component of PDE activation. The central polycationic region of P gamma, P gamma-24-45, has been implicated as one of the sites involved in alpha t*.P gamma interaction. Here we determine the site on alpha t* that interacts with P gamma-24-45 using a photo-cross-linking approach. The synthetic peptides Cys(ACM)Tyr-P gamma-24-45-Cys (where ACM indicates acetamidomethyl group) and Cys-P gamma-24-45 were labeled with 4-(N-maleimido)benzophenone at the COOH and NH2 termini, respectively, and then cross-linked to alpha t. When the photoprobe was attached to the COOH terminus of the peptide, a specific high yield cross-linked product (80%) was formed between the peptide and alpha t GTP gamma S (guanosine 5'-O-(thiotriphosphate)). A lower yield of cross-linking (35%) was seen between the peptide and alpha t GDP. The site of cross-linking between Cys(ACM)Tyr-P gamma-24-45-Cys and alpha t GTP gamma S was localized to within alpha t-306-310 using a variety of chemical and proteolytic cleavages of the cross-linked product, analysis of the fragments with SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, and matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry.