Fifteen human herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6) isolates from normal donors and patients with AIDS, systemic lupus erythematosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, collagen-vascular disease, leukopenia, bone marrow transplants, Exanthem subitum (roseola), and atypical polyclonal lymphoproliferation were studied for their tropism to fresh human cord blood mononuclear cells, growth in continuous T cell lines, reactivity to monoclonal antibodies, and by restriction enzyme banding patterns. All isolates replicated efficiently in human cord blood mononuclear cells, but mitogen stimulation of the cells prior to infection was required. The ability to infect continuous T-cell lines varied with the isolates. Isolates similar to GS prototype infected HSB2 and Sup T1 cells and did not infect Molt-3 cells, whereas isolates similar to Z-29 infected Molt-3 cells but not HSB2 and Sup T1 cells. Some of the monoclonal antibodies directed against the HHV-6 (GS) isolate showed reactivity with all isolates tested, but others only reacted with HHV-6 isolates similar to the GS isolate and not with those similar to Z-29 isolate. Restriction enzyme analysis using EcoRI, BamHI, and HindIII revealed that HHV-6 isolates from roseola, bone marrow transplant, leukopenia, and an HIV-1-positive AIDS patient from Zaire (Z-29) were closely related but distinct from GS type HHV-6 isolates. Based on the above findings, we propose that, like herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2, the 15 HHV-6 isolates analyzed can be divided into group A (GS type) and group B (Z-29 type).