HIV-1-infected monocyte/macrophages located in lymph nodes and tissues are highly productive sources of HIV-1 and may function as a persistent reservoir contributing to the rebound viremia observed after highly active antiretroviral therapy is stopped. Mechanisms activating latently infected, primary monocyte/macrophages to produce HIV-1 were investigated using monocytes isolated from a transgenic mouse line carrying a full-length proviral clone of a monocyte-tropic HIV-1 isolate, HIV-1(JR-CSF), regulated by the endogenous long terminal repeat (LTR) (JR-CSF mice). Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) combined with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induced infectious HIV-1 production by JR-CSF mouse monocytes over 10-fold and 100-fold higher than that stimulated by GM-CSF or LPS alone, respectively. We examined mechanisms of GM-CSF synergy with LPS and demonstrated that GM-CSF up-regulated the LPS receptor, TLR-4, and also synergized with LPS to activate mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase/ERK kinase and the Sp1 transcription factor. Inhibitors of either MAP kinase/ERK kinase or p38 kinase but not PI 3-kinase potently suppressed GM-CSF and LPS-induced HIV-1 production by JR-CSF mouse monocytes. Because Sp1 is activated by both the MAP kinase/ERK kinase and p38 kinase pathways, we postulate that synergistic activation of these pathways by GM-CSF and LPS induced sufficient levels of Sp1 to activate the HIV-1 LTR in a Tat-independent manner and induced HIV-1 production by JR-CSF mouse monocytes. Thus, our study delineated the pathway of HIV-1 LTR activation by GM-CSF and LPS and indicated that JR-CSF transgenic mice may provide a new in vitro and in vivo system for investigating the mechanism by which inflammatory and infectious stimuli activate HIV-1 production from latently infected monocytes.