The G-quadruplexes that form in the HIV-1 RNA genome hinder progression of reverse transcriptase in vitro, but not in infected cells. We investigated the possibility that the HIV-1 nucleocapsid protein NCp7, which remains associated with the viral RNA during reverse transcription, modulated HIV-1 RNA G-quadruplex stability. By electrophoresis, circular dichroism, mass spectrometry, and reverse transcriptase stop assays, we demonstrated that NCp7 binds and unfolds the HIV-1 RNA G-quadruplexes and promotes DNA/RNA duplex formation, allowing reverse transcription to proceed. The G-quadruplex ligand BRACO-19 was able to partially counteract this effect. These results indicate NCp7 as the first known viral protein able to unfold RNA G-quadruplexes, and they explain how the extra-stable HIV-1 RNA G-quadruplexes are processed; they also point out that the reverse transcription process is hindered by G-quadruplex ligands at both reverse transcriptase and NCp7 level. This information can lead to the development of more effective anti-HIV-1 drugs with a new mechanism of action.