Comparison of kinetic and thermodynamic properties of IRP1 (iron regulatory protein1) binding to FRT (ferritin) and ACO2 (aconitase2) IRE-RNAs, with or without Mn2+, revealed differences specific to each IRE-RNA. Conserved among animal mRNAs, IRE-RNA structures are noncoding and bind Fe2+ to regulate biosynthesis rates of the encoded, iron homeostatic proteins. IRP1 protein binds IRERNA, inhibiting mRNA activity; Fe2+ decreases IRE-mRNA/IRP1 binding, increasing encoded protein synthesis. Here, we observed heat, 5 °C to 30 °C, increased IRP1 binding to IRE-RNA 4-fold (FRT IRE-RNA) or 3-fold (ACO2 IRE-RNA), which was enthalpy driven and entropy favorable. Mn2+ (50 μM, 25 °C) increased IRE-RNA/IRP1 binding (Kd) 12-fold (FRT IRE-RNA) or 6-fold (ACO2 IRE-RNA); enthalpic contributions decreased ~61% (FRT) or ~32% (ACO2), and entropic contributions increased ~39% (FRT) or ~68% (ACO2). IRE-RNA/IRP1 binding changed activation energies: FRT IRE-RNA 47.0 ± 2.5 kJ/mol, ACO2 IRE-RNA 35.0 ± 2.0 kJ/mol. Mn2+ (50 μM) decreased the activation energy of RNA-IRP1 binding for both IRE-RNAs. The observations suggest decreased RNA hydrogen bonding and changed RNA conformation upon IRP1 binding and illustrate how small, conserved, sequence differences among IREmRNAs selectively influence thermodynamic and kinetic selectivity of the protein/RNA interactions.