The primary objective of this study was to define whether the nature of virion-bound host cell membrane proteins influenced the process of human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) capture and transmission. We pulsed cells of monocytoid lineage (established and primary) and CD4-negative epithelial cells transiently expressing DC-SIGN or LFA-1 with isogenic HIV-1 particles either devoid or bearing host-derived ICAM-1 or ICAM-3 before incubation with an indicator cell line. To our surprise, the ICAM-1/LFA-1 association was a more efficient transmission factor than the combined gp120/DC-SIGN and ICAM-3/DC-SIGN interactions. The involvement of the association between virus-bound ICAM-1 and its natural ligand LFA-1 in virus binding and carriage was confirmed when using more physiological cellular targets, i.e., human lymphoid tissues cultured ex vivo. However, the contribution of virus-anchored host ICAM-1 to the process of retention and transmission of HIV-1 could not be confirmed when using primary human cells of macrophage/dendritic lineage as transmitter cells and autologous CD4+ T lymphocytes as targets. Altogether these data underscore the complexity of factors participating in virus-cell contact and efficient dissemination of HIV-1 to target cells.