When an effective concentration of doxorubicin (DXR) was added into L1210 of a mouse leukemia cell line, DXR was rapidly distributed much more in the nuclei than in the other organelle within a few minutes. A [14C]DXR-binding fraction was obtained from the cytosol prepared from L1210 cells. The fraction was adsorbed to hydroxylapatite matrix and eluted from the matrix by 50-150 mM potassium phosphate buffer. The fraction showed high DXR-binding and Suc-Leu-Leu-Val-Tyr-MCA-degrading activity. The binding of [14C]DXR was inhibited by unlabeled DXR. Gel chromatography of the fraction with Sephacryl S-300 separated two fractions of high molecular weight (Peak I, approx. 750 kDa) and low molecular weight (Peak II). Peak I showed proteolytic activity. [14C]DXR-binding Peak I had much higher affinity to DNA-cellulose than [14C]DXR-binding Peak II. [14C]DXR-Peak I complex also was retained into the nuclei isolated from L1210 cells, temperature-dependently. These results suggest that a specific carrier to translocate DXR from cytoplasm into nucleus exists in L1210 cell and the carrier is proteasome.