Almost all viral pathogens utilize a cytoskeleton for their entry and intracellular transport. In HIV-1 infection, binding of the virus to blood resting CD4 T cells initiates a temporal course of cortical actin polymerization and depolymerization, a process mimicking the chemotactic response initiated from chemokine receptors. The actin depolymerization has been suggested to promote viral intracellular migration through cofilin-mediated actin treadmilling. However, the role of the virus-mediated actin polymerization in HIV infection is unknown, and the signaling molecules involved remain unidentified. Here we describe a pathogenic mechanism for triggering early actin polymerization through HIV-1 envelope-mediated transient activation of the LIM domain kinase (LIMK), a protein that phosphorylates cofilin. We demonstrate that HIV-mediated LIMK activation is through gp120-triggered transient activation of the Rack-PAK-LIMK pathway, and that knockdown of LIMK through siRNA decreases filamentous actin, increases CXCR4 trafficking, and diminishes viral DNA synthesis. These results suggest that HIV-mediated early actin polymerization may directly regulate the CXCR4 receptor during viral entry and is involved in viral DNA synthesis. Furthermore, we also demonstrate that in resting CD4 T cells, actin polymerization can be triggered through transient treatment with a pharmacological agent, okadaic acid, that activates LIMK and promotes HIV latent infection of resting CD4 T cells. Taken together, our results suggest that HIV hijacks LIMK to control the cortical actin dynamics for the initiation of viral infection of CD4 T cells.