We studied the transduction of primary human B lymphocytes and myeloma cells with lentiviral vectors. In peripheral blood B cells that had been activated with helper T cells (murine thymoma EL-4 B5) and cytokines, multiply attenuated HIV-1-derived vectors pseudotyped with vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) G-envelope protein achieved the expression of green fluorescence protein (GFP) in 27% +/- 12% (mean +/- 1 SD; median, 27%) of B cells in different experiments. When compared in parallel cultures, the transducibility of B cells from different donors exhibited little variation. The human cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter gave 4- to 6-fold higher GFP expression than did the human elongation factor-1alpha promoter. A murine retroviral vector pseudotyped with VSV G protein proved inefficient even in mitotically active primary B cells. B cells freshly stimulated with Epstein-Barr virus were also transducible by HIV vectors (24% +/- 9%), but B cells activated with CD40 ligand and cytokines resisted transduction. Thus, different culture systems gave different results. Freshly isolated, nondividing myeloma cells were efficiently transduced by HIV vectors; for 6 myelomas the range was 14% to 77% (median, 28%) GFP(+) cells. HIV vectors with a mutant integrase led to no significant GFP signal in primary B or myeloma cells, suggesting that vector integration was required for high transduction. In conclusion, HIV vectors are promising tools for studies of gene functions in primary human B cells and myeloma cells for the purposes of research and the development of gene therapies.