The recognition of cellular receptors by the mammalian reoviruses is an important determinant of cell and tissue tropism exhibited by reovirus strains of different serotypes. To extend our knowledge of the role of reovirus-receptor interactions in reovirus tropism, we determined whether type 1 and type 3 reovirus strains can infect cells derived from erythrocyte precursors. We found that reovirus type 3 Dearing (T3D), but not type 1 Lang, can grow in murine erythroleukemia (MEL) cells. This difference in growth was investigated by using reassortant viruses and we found that the capacity of T3D to infect MEL cells is determined by the viral cell-attachment protein, sigma 1. In experiments using murine monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that bind to different sigma 1 regions, we show that T3D binding to MEL cells is inhibited by a mAb that identifies a domain important for hemagglutination (HA). We also determined that type 3 strains that can infect murine L cells but do not produce HA do not infect MEL cells. These results suggest that type 3 reovirus binds to and infects erythrocyte precursor cells via a sigma 1 domain important for HA. Moreover, this study suggests that different domains of some viral cell-attachment proteins are used to initiate productive infections of different types of cells.