The peptidyl-prolyl isomerase cyclophilin A (CypA) increases the kinetics by which human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) spreads in tissue culture. This was conclusively demonstrated by gene targeting in human CD4(+) T cells, but the role of CypA in HIV-1 replication remains unknown. Though CypA binds to mature HIV-1 capsid protein (CA), it is also incorporated into nascent HIV-1 virions via interaction with the CA domain of the Gag polyprotein. These findings raised the possibility that CypA might act at multiple steps of the retroviral life cycle. Disruption of the CA-CypA interaction, either by the competitive inhibitor cyclosporine (CsA) or by mutation of CA residue G89 or P90, suggested that producer cell CypA was required for full virion infectivity. However, recent studies indicate that CypA within the target cell regulates HIV-1 infectivity by modulating Ref1- or Lv1-mediated restriction. To examine the relative contribution to HIV-1 replication of producer cell CypA and target cell CypA, we exploited multiple tools that disrupt the HIV-1 CA-CypA interaction. These tools included the drugs CsA, MeIle(4)-CsA, and Sanglifehrin; CA mutants exhibiting decreased affinity for CypA or altered CypA dependence; HeLa cells with CypA knockdown by RNA interference; and Jurkat T cells homozygous for a deletion of the gene encoding CypA. Our results clearly demonstrate that target cell CypA, and not producer cell CypA, is important for HIV-1 CA-mediated function. Inhibition of HIV-1 infectivity resulting from virion production in the presence of CsA occurs independently of the CA-CypA interaction or even of CypA.