Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) replication requires active nuclear export of unspliced and incompletely spliced HIV-1 RNA transcripts. This process is evolutionally made possible by expression of HIV-1 Rev, one of the three HIV-1 proteins encoded by completely spliced HIV-1 RNAs. Evidence has accumulated to suggest that Sam68 plays an important role in HIV-1 replication through HIV-1 Rev protein. In the present study, we further examined the structure-function relationship of Sam68 protein in relation to HIV-1 replication. We identified a Sam68 domain located between aa269 and aa321 to be involved in the HIV-inhibitory effects of Sam68 dominant negative mutants lacking the nuclear localization signal (NLS). Deletion of this domain abrogated inhibition of HIV-1 replication by these mutants. HIV-1 Rev protein appeared to mediate the HIV-inhibitory effects of these mutants and by this domain, as assessed by Rev-dependent chloramphenicol acetyltransferase reporter gene assay, in trans rev-defective HIV-1 complementation assay, and RNase protection assay. The HIV-inhibitory mutants containing this domain were further found to have diminished binding affinity to the wild-type Sam68 and to be associated with cytoplasmic retention of exclusively nuclear localized wild type Sam68. Taken together, these results further ascertain the important role of Sam68 in HIV-1 Rev function and viral replication, and suggest that the HIV-inhibitory effects of Sam68 dominant negative mutants directly result from their binding to endogenous Sam68 and their interference with nuclear localization of endogenous Sam68.