Integration of retroviral DNA into the host cell genome, catalyzed by the integrase (IN) protein, is thought to be required for replication. We show here that one IN-minus defective mutant of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is able to replicate in macrophages but not in peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs). Replication of the HIV-1 defective mutant, however, was inefficient and self-limiting. The absence of integration in the HIV-1 IN mutant in contrast to the wild-type implies that the replication of the IN mutant depends on the transcription of the extrachromosomal forms of viral DNA. In both PBLs and macrophages circular forms of DNA were detected at significant levels, indicating that the lack of a complete functional IN protein does not preclude nuclear import of HIV-1 DNA. Cell-associated p24 was absent in the IN-defective-infected PBLs, suggesting a transcriptional block of the extrachromosomal forms of HIV-1. These results show the existence of different strategies for HIV-1 replication depending upon the cell type, and indicate the necessity of integration of viral DNA for the self-maintained progression of the infection.