Although CD4 is a major receptor for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection of cells, studied by ourselves and others clearly show that the Fc receptor (FcR) also plays a role in infection, perhaps in conjunction with other surface receptors. IgG antibodies to HIV-1 will enhance infectivity in cells (such as monocyte-macrophages) that have surface Fc receptors; F(ab')2 fragments of antibodies did not enhance, and blocking of FcR inhibited enhancement. The high-affinity FcR for IgG (Fc gamma RI) appeared to be functional. Sera from HIV-1-infected patients had neutralizing activity at high concentrations, but enhanced infection at low concentrations (i.e., high dilutions). Our studies show that the CD4 receptor is required for antibody-mediated enhancement of infection, as enhancement can be blocked by recombinant soluble CD4 and by Leu3 antibody. Although enhancement can be demonstrated in vitro, the in vivo importance of enhancing antibodies remains to be defined in HIV-1 infection.