A new type of hammerhead ribozyme, with cleavage activity enhanced by oligonucleotides, was constructed. Stem II of the ribozyme was substituted with a non complementary loop (loop II). The modified ribozyme exhibited negligible cleavage of a target RNA; however, it was converted to an active molecule in the presence of oligonucleotides which were complementary to loop II. The oligonucleotide compensated for the disabled stem II by binding with the ribozyme. The induction of the cleavage activity was sequence-specific and the oligonucleotides containing a purine base as the 3'-dangling end were able to induce the cleavage activity of the ribozyme most efficiently. A photo-crosslinking experiment proved that a pseudo-half-knot structure was formed in the active molecule. The cleavage of two kinds of substrate RNAs with different sequences was controlled by the corresponding ribozymes activated by specific oligonucleotides.