Escherichia coli ribosomes were used to refold denatured lactate dehydrogenase from porcine muscle. This activity of ribosomes, unlike most of the chaperons, did not require the presence of ATP. The molar concentration of ribosomes required for this refolding was comparable with that of the enzyme. Restoration of the enzyme activity was demonstrated using assays for both the forward and backward reactions. Binding of the denatured enzyme to ribosomes and its refolding were fairly rapid processes as revealed by the time course of the reaction and inhibition of folding when the denatured enzyme was allowed to refold spontaneously for short times before the addition of ribosomes. This protein-folding activity was detected in 70 S ribosomes as well as its RNA, in 50 S particles and in 23 S rRNA. However, 30 S particles failed to refold the enzyme.