The effect of phosphoinositide-binding aminoglycosides, such as neomycin, gentamicin and streptomycin, on human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection of human fibroblasts MRC-5 was studied. The inhibition of HCMV infection was obtained with all of these molecules but neomycin was more effective than the others. We showed that the inoculation of the cells with cell-free viral suspension in presence of neomycin concentrations above 5 mM at 37°C, inhibited more than 98% the HCMV infection. However, the preincubation of the fibroblasts with neomycin at 4°C, before the removal of the drug and the inoculation of the cells, induced only a 30% decrease in the number of infected cells. Addition of neomycin after the HCMV-binding at 4°C or the infection of the cells was less efficient to inhibit HCMV infection than the standard incubation of neomycin during inoculation of the fibroblasts. Indeed, 1 hour after the inoculation of the cells at 37°C, neomycin still inhibited HCMV infection, but 4 hours after the inoculation, this drug had no effect on HCMV infection. Our findings demonstrated that neomycin must be present at the time of infection in order to exert a full inhibiting effect. The effect of neomycin on the HCMV infection was almost immediate upon the addition of the drug (binding and/or internalization) and after the virus internalization (inhibition of immediate-early events). We suggest that neomycin and other aminoglycoside antibiotics may interact with HCMV glycoproteins for binding to similar structural features of cell surface heparan sulfate proteoglycans and may inhibit HCMV infection in fibroblasts by disrupting phosphoinositide-mediated events in the cells.