HIV particles are detected extracellularly in lymphoid tissues, a major reservoir of the virus. We previously reported that a polymerized form of fibronectin (FN), superfibronectin (sFN), as well as a fragment of FN, III1-C, enhanced infection of primary CD4+ T cells by HIV-1IIIB. We now show that sFN enhances infection of primary CD4+ T cells by both R5 and X4 strains of HIV-1. Using HIV pseudotyped with different envelope glycoproteins (gp120) and HOS cells transfected with various chemokine receptors alone or in combination with the CD4 molecule, we show that sFN-mediated enhancement requires the CD4 receptor and does not alter the specificity of gp120 for different chemokine receptors. Because the III1-C fragment also resulted in enhancement, we asked whether proteolysis of FN generated fragments capable of enhancing HIV infection. We found that progressive proteolysis of FN by chymotrypsin correlates with an enhancement of HIV infection in both primary CD4+ T cells and the IG5 reporter cell line. Furthermore, incubation of HIV with sFN significantly prolonged infectivity at 37°C compared with dimeric FN or BSA. In conclusion, these results indicate that polymerized (matrix) or degraded (inflammation-associated), but not dimeric (plasma), FN are capable of enhancing infection. by HIV-1, independent of the coreceptor specificity of the strains. Moreover, virions bound to matrix FN maintain infectivity for longer periods of time than do virions in suspension. This study suggests that matrix proteins and their conformational status may play a role in the pathogenesis of HIV.