Proviral sequences were determined and immunologic characterization was carried out for envelope glycoproteins from 7 vaccinees who became infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), through high-risk behavior, while participating in clinical trials of MN-rgp120, a candidate HIV-1 vaccine. All 7 infections resulted from subtype B viruses; however, only 3 of the viruses possessed the MN serotype-defining V3 domain sequence, IGPGRAF, prevalent in 60%-70% of US infections. Six of the 7 viruses differed from MN-rgp120 at a neutralizing epitope in the C4 domain, and all 7 differed from MN-rgp120 at a neutralizing epitope in the V2 domain. Recombinant gp120 was prepared from each breakthrough specimen and tested for binding to a panel of neutralizing monoclonal antibodies. The results suggest that 6 of 7 breakthrough infections may be related to incomplete immunization or to infection with viruses that differed from the vaccine immunogen at important virus-neutralizing epitopes.