Quantum dots (QDots) are fluorescent semiconductor nanocrystals with a narrow emission spectrum, high quantum yield, and excellent photostability. These unique properties of QDots have been utilized to develop a fluorescent binding assay using biotinylated human T cell leukemia virus type 1 (biot-HTLV-1) conjugated with streptavidin-coated QDots that enabled both qualitative and quantitative analyses of viral binding. The specificity and linearity of the assay was demonstrated utilizing T cells, the primary HTLV-1-susceptible cell population. Furthermore, differential binding of HTLV-1 was analyzed in additional cell types of clinical relevance including primary CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells, dendritic cells (DCs), monocytes, bone marrow progenitor cells, and epithelial cells. DCs exhibited maximum binding affinity when compared to other examined cell types except the Jurkat and SUP-T1 T cell lines. Finally, blocking antibodies directed against a putative HTLV-1 receptor on DCs; DC-SIGN (dendritic cell-specific ICAM-3-grabbing non-integrin), were utilized to study the inhibition of HTLV-1 binding to target cells. Overall, these results demonstrated that this novel high throughput assay can be utilized to study the binding of a biotinylated virus and has implications for screening of viral binding inhibitors as well as host membrane proteins that may serve as receptors for viral entry.