HIV-1 Rev protein directs nuclear export of pre-mRNAs and mRNAs containing its binding site, the Rev response element (RRE). To define how Rev acts, we used conjugates between bovine serum albumin (BSA) and peptides comprising the Rev activation domain (BSA-R). BSA-R inhibited Rev-mediated nuclear RNA export, whereas a mutant activation domain peptide conjugate did not. BSA-R did not affect the export of mRNA, tRNA, or ribosomal subunits, but did inhibit export of 5S rRNA and spliceosomal U snRNAs. BSA-R was itself exported from the nucleus in an active, saturable manner. Thus, the Rev activation domain constitutes a nuclear export signal that redirects RRE-containing viral RNAs to a non-mRNA export pathway.