We explored the binding of octamer (Oct) transcription factors to the HIV-1 long terminal repeat (LTR) by gel shift assays and showed none of the previously identified four potential Oct binding sites bound Oct-1 or Oct-2. Overexpression of Oct-1 or Oct-2 had no effect on HIV-1 LTR activity in transiently transfected primary human CD4 T cells. Next, primary human CD4 T cells were co-transfected with a green fluorescent protein (GFP)-expression vector and an Oct-1 or Oct-2 expression plasmid. The transfected cells were stimulated for 2 days and then infected with the NL4-3 strain of HIV-1. After 3 days of infection, there were no differences in HIV-1 p24 supernatant levels. Apoptosis of infected or bystander cells overexpressing Oct-1 or Oct-2 compared to control was also unaffected. Our studies demonstrate that Oct-1 and Oct-2 fail to bind to the HIV-1 LTR and have no effect on HIV-1 transcription in primary human CD4 T cells. © 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.