The transport of nucleic acids from the nucleus to the cytoplasm is a potential site for modification of normal cellular processes by drugs and hormones. In this study the effect of phenobarbitone on nucleocytoplasmic transport of ribosomes was measured in an assay system in vitro. The transport of radioactive ribosomes from isolated rat hepatic nuclei to unlabelled post-microsomal supernatant was measured in rats treated with 80 mg of phenobarbitone/kg body wt. or saline 3h before death. With either treatment, transport was linear with time, and dependent on temperature and the presence of ATP. However, phenobarbitone treatment increased transport of ribonucleoproteins over saline-treated animals nearly twofold. The effect of phenobarbitone was mediated through the cytosol, but was not the result of altered stability of the RNA transported to the cytosol. Cycloheximide (5 mg/kg body wt.) given 3.5 h before death inhibited the stimulation of transport by phenobarbitone. The data indicate that phenobarbitone increased the transport of RNA by stimulating the synthesis of cytosol factors that regulate transport of RNA from the nucleus.