Single-cell clones derived from the U-937 monocytic cell line were studied for susceptibility to infection by human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). Of four such clones, we found that three (UC12, UC14, and UC18) supported replication of HIV-1 more efficiently than parental U-937 cells, as measured by reverse transcriptase activity and p24 core antigen production. In contrast, another clone (UC11) showed only baseline infection throughout an 8-week culture period, before finally becoming positive for expression of viral antigen. This differential susceptibility to infection directly correlated with accumulation of intracellular viral DNA. Furthermore, the UC11 clone expressed lower levels of Sendai virus-inducible tumor necrosis factor alpha mRNA than did the UC12 or UC18 clones. Susceptibility to infection did not correlate with expression of cell surface CD4, since all clones expressed similar levels of CD4 mRNA and surface membrane CD4 protein. Prior exposure of both susceptible UC18 and resistant UC11 clones to Leu3a antibody completely blocked infection by HIV-1, suggesting that no other independent receptors were recognized by the virus.