Assembly of infectious human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) virions requires incorporation of the viral envelope glycoproteins gp41 and gp120. Several lines of evidence have suggested that the cytoplasmic tail of the transmembrane glycoprotein, gp41, associates with Pr55(Gag) in infected cells to facilitate the incorporation of HIV-1 envelope proteins into budding virions. However, direct evidence for an interaction between gp41 and Pr55(Gag) in HIV-1 particles has not been reported. To determine whether gp41 is associated with Pr55(Gag) in HIV-1 particles, viral cores were isolated from immature HIV-1 virions by sedimentation through detergent. The cores contained a major fraction of the gp41 that was present on untreated virions. Association of gp41 with cores required the presence of the gp41 cytoplasmic tail. In HIV-1 particles containing a functional protease, a mutation that prevents cleavage of Pr55(Gag) at the matrix-capsid junction was sufficient for the detergent-resistant association of gp41 with the isolated cores. In addition to gp41, a major fraction of virion-associated gp120 was also detected on immature HIV-1 cores. Isolation of cores under conditions known to disrupt lipid rafts resulted in the removal of a raft-associated protein incorporated into virions but not the HIV-1 envelope proteins. These results provide biochemical evidence for a stable interaction between Pr55(Gag) and the cytoplasmic tail of gp41 in immature HIV-1 particles. Moreover, findings in this study suggest that the interaction of Pr55(Gag) with gp41 may regulate the function of the envelope proteins during HIV-1 maturation.