Cell-to-cell transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) occurs via a virological synapse (VS), a tight cell-cell junction formed between HIV-infected cells and target cells in which the HIV-1-infected cell polarizes and releases virions toward the noninfected target cell in a gp120- and intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1)-dependent process. The response of the target cell has been less studied. We utilized supported planar bilayers presenting gp120 and ICAM-1 as a reductionist model for the infected-cell membrane and investigated its effect on the target CD4 T cell. This study shows that HIV-1 gp120 interaction with its receptors is initially organized into microclusters that undergo F-actin-dependent consolidation into a central supramolecular activation complex (cSMAC). Src kinases are active in both gp120 microclusters and in the VS cSMAC. The early T-cell receptor (TCR) signaling machinery is partially activated at the VS, and signaling does not propagate to trigger Ca2+ elevation or increase CD69 expression. However, these partial TCR signals act locally to create an F-actin-depleted zone. We propose a model in which the F-actin-depleted zone formed within the target CD4 T cell enhances the reception of virions by releasing the physical barrier for HIV-1 entry and facilitating postentry events.