Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) and human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) may interact in the pathogenesis of AIDS. The placental syncytiotrophoblast layer serves as the first line of defense of the fetus against viruses. We analyzed the patterns of replication of HIV-1 and HCMV in singly an dually infected human term syncytiotrophoblast cells cultured in vitro. Syncytiotrophoblast cells exhibited restricted permissiveness for HIV-1, while HCMV replication was restricted at the level of immediate-early and early gene products in the singly infected cells. We found that the syncytiotrophoblasts as an overlapping cell population could be coinfected with HIV-1 and HCMV. HIV-1 replication was markedly upregulated by previous or simultaneous infection of the cells with HCMV, whereas prior HIV-1 infection of the cells converted HCMV infection from a nonpermissive to a permissive one. No simultaneous enhancement of HCMV and HIV-1 expression was observed in the dually infected cell cultures. Major immediate-early proteins of HCMV were necessary for enhancement of HIV-1 replication, and interleukin-6 production induced by HCMV and further increased by replicating HIV-1 synergized with these proteins to produce this effect. Permissive replication cycle of HCMV was induced by the HIV-1 tat gene product. We were unable to detect HIV-1 (HCMV) or HCMV (HIV-1) pseudotypes in supernatant fluids from dually infected cell cultures. Our results suggest that interactions between HIV-1 and HCMV in coinfected syncytiotrophoblast cells may contribute to the transplacental transmission of both viruses.