Mail exchange binding uses the <mail-domain> part of a mailbox specification to determine where mail should be sent. The <local-part> is not even consulted. [RFC-974] specifies this method in detail, and should be consulted before attempting to use mail exchange support.
One of the advantages of this method is that it decouples mail destination naming from the hosts used to support mail service, at the cost of another layer of indirection in the lookup function. However, the addition layer should eliminate the need for complicated "%", "!", etc encodings in <local-part>.
The essence of the method is that the <mail-domain> is used as a domain name to locate type MX RRs which list hosts willing to accept mail for <mail-domain>, together with preference values which rank the hosts according to an order specified by the administrators for <mail-domain>.
In this memo, the <mail-domain> ISI.EDU is used in examples, together with the hosts VENERA.ISI.EDU and VAXA.ISI.EDU as mail exchanges for ISI.EDU. If a mailer had a message for Mockapetris@ISI.EDU, it would route it by looking up MX RRs for ISI.EDU. The MX RRs at ISI.EDU name VENERA.ISI.EDU and VAXA.ISI.EDU, and type A queries can find the host addresses.