The hypothesis that the cellular protein Crm1 mediates human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Rev-dependent nuclear export posits that Crm1 can directly interact both with the Rev nuclear export signal (NES) and with cellular nucleoporins. Here, we demonstrate that Crm1 is indeed able to interact with active but not defective forms of the HIV-1 Rev NES and of NESs found in other retroviral nuclear export factors. In addition, we demonstrate that Crm1 can bind the Rev NES when Rev is assembled onto the Rev response element RNA target and that Crm1, like Rev, is a nucleocytoplasmic shuttle protein. Crm1 also specifically binds the Rev NES in vitro, although this latter interaction is detectable only in the presence of added Ran · GTP. Overexpression of a truncated, defective form of the nucleoporin Nup214/CAN, termed ΔCAN, that retains Crm1 binding ability resulted in the effective inhibition of HIV-1 Rev or human T-cell leukemia virus Rex-dependent gene expression. In contrast, ΔCAN had no significant affect on Mason-Pfizer monkey virus constitutive transport element (MPMV CTE)-dependent nuclear RNA export or on the expression of RNAs dependent on the cellular mRNA export pathway. As a result, ΔCAN specifically blocked late, but not early, HIV-1 gene expression in HIV-1-infected cells. These data strongly validate Crm1 as a cellular cofactor for HIV-1 Rev and demonstrate that the MPMV CTE nuclear RNA export pathway uses a distinct, Crm1-independent mechanism. In addition, these data identify a novel and highly potent inhibitor of leucine-rich NES-dependent nuclear export.