Antizyme-1 (AZ1) is a protein that negatively regulates polyamine synthesis by inhibiting the key synthetic enzyme ornithine decarboxylase and targeting it for degradation by the 26 S proteasome. Recent work shows that antizyme protein translocates to the nucleus during mouse development (Gritli-Linde, A., Nilssom, J., Bohlooly, Y. M., Heby, O., and Linde, A. (2001) Dev. Dyn. 220, 259-275). However, the significance and mechanism of this phenomenon remain unclear. In this study, we expressed AZ1 fused with enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) to study its localization in a living cell. We found that EGFP-AZ1 was predominantly localized in the cytoplasm and that treatment with leptomycin B, a specific inhibitor of chromosomal region maintenance 1 (CRM1) induced nuclear accumulation of EGFP-AZ1 in Chinese hamster ovary and NIH3T3 cells. Two independent nuclear export signal (NES) sequences, each containing essential hydrophobic residues, were identified in the 50 N-terminal amino acid residues and in the central part of AZ1. The activity of the second NES was inhibited by an N-terminal adjacent region and was only revealed in N-terminal truncated constructs. Both NESs were active when fused to an artificial nuclear protein SV40-NLS-EGFP-EGFP. The ability of AZ1 to shuttle between the nucleus and the cytoplasm suggests that it has a novel function in the nucleus.