Are integral membrane protein-encoding mRNAs (MPRs) different from other mRNAs such as those encoding cytosolic mRNAs (CPRs)? This is implied from the emerging concept that MPRs are specifically recognized and delivered to membrane-bound ribosomes in a translation-independent manner. MPRs might be recognized through uracil-rich segments that encode hydrophobic transmembrane helices. To investigate this hypothesis, we designed DNA sequences encoding model untranslatable transcripts that mimic MPRs or CPRs. By utilizing in vitro-synthesized biotinylated RNAs mixed with Escherichia coli extracts, we identified a highly specific interaction that takes place between transcripts that mimic MPRs and the cold shock proteins CspE and CspC, which are normally expressed under physiological conditions. Co-purification studies with E. coli expressing 6His-tagged CspE or CspC confirmed that the specific interaction occurs in vivo not only with the model uracil-rich untranslatable transcripts but also with endogenous MPRs. Our results suggest that the evolutionarily conserved cold shock proteins may have a role, possibly as promiscuous chaperons, in the biogenesis of MPRs.