Mammalian cell lines have been engineered to produce a secreted form of the AIDS retrovirus envelope glycoprotein. The recombinant protein has been isolated from growth-conditioned culture media and used to immunize animals. Antibodies directed against the recombinant molecule were found to react with the envelope glycoprotein produced in virus-infected cells. Furthermore, these antibodies were able to directly inactivate the AIDS retrovirus in a neutralization assay in vitro. The expression system reported here should provide sufficient quantities of the AIDS retrovirus envelope protein for biological and vaccination studies.