Direct virus inactivation of tachyplesin I and related isopeptides, which are antimicrobial peptides isolated from the hemocytes of the horseshoe crab (Tachypleus tridentatus and Limulus polyphemus), was examined against several viruses. Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) was inactivated by incubation with tachyplesin I and its isopeptides. Influenza A (H1N1) virus was slightly inactivated by tachyplesin I, whereas herpes simplex virus 1 and 2, adenovirus 1, reovirus 2 and poliovirus 1 were resistant to inactivation. The inactivation of VSV by tachyplesin I depended on the concentration, the time and the temperature of incubation. Pretreatment of tachyplesin I with trypsin or lipopolysaccharide of gram-negative bacteria entirely abolished the antiviral activity. Electron microscopy of VSV treated with tachyplesin I showed naked and damaged virions. These data suggest that tachyplesin I directly inactivates the VSV by destroying its envelope subunits.