Vaccines prepared from the envelope glycoprotein, gp120, of the common laboratory isolate of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) (IIIB/LAV-1) elicit antibodies that neutralize the homologous virus but show little if any cross-neutralizing activity. This may be because the principal neutralizing determinant (PND) of gp120 is highly unusual in the IIIB/LAV-1 strain and is not representative of those found in the majority of field isolates. We have now examined the immunogenicity of recombinant gp120 prepared from the MN strain of HIV-1 (MN-rgp120), whose PND is thought to be representative of approximately 60% of the isolates in North America. Our results show that MN-rgp120 is a potent immunogen and elicits anti-gp120 titers comparable to those found in HIV-1-infected individuals. While both MN-rgp120 and IIIB-rgp120 induced antibodies able to block gp120 binding to CD4, strain-specific and type-common blocking antibodies were detected. Finally, antibodies to MN-rgp120 but not to IIIB-rgp120 were effective in neutralizing a broad range of laboratory and clinical isolates of HIV-1. These studies demonstrate that susceptibility or resistance to neutralization by antibodies to gp120 correlates with the PND sequence and suggest that the problem of antigenic variation may not be insurmountable in the development of an effective AIDS vaccine.