Ricin undergoes retrograde transport to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), and ricin toxin A chain (RTA) enters the cytosol from the ER. Previous reports indicated that RTA inhibits activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR) in yeast and in mammalian cells. Both precursor (preRTA) and mature form of RTA (mRTA) inhibited splicing of HAC1u (u for uninduced) mRNA, suggesting that UPR inhibition occurred on the cytosolic face of the ER. Here, we examined the role of ribosome binding and depurination activity on inhibition of the UPR using mRTA mutants. An active-site mutant with very low depurination activity, which bound ribosomes as WT RTA, did not inhibit HAC1u mRNA splicing. A ribosome-binding mutant, which showed reduced binding to ribosomes but retained depurination activity, inhibited HAC1u mRNA splicing. This mutant allowed separation of the UPR inhibition by RTA from cytotoxicity because it reduced the rate of depurination. The ribosome-binding mutant inhibited the UPR without affecting IRE1 oligomerization or cleavage of HAC1u mRNA at the splice site junctions. Inhibition of the UPR correlated with the depurination level, suggesting that ribosomes play a role in splicing of HAC1u mRNA. We show that HAC1u mRNA is associated with ribosomes and does not get processed on depurinated ribosomes, thereby inhibiting the UPR. These results demonstrate that RTA inhibits HAC1u mRNA splicing through its depurination activity on the ribosome without directly affecting IRE1 oligomerization or the splicing reaction and provide evidence that IRE1 recognizes HAC1u mRNA that is associated with ribosomes.