Membrane fusion is a key step in the life cycle of all envelope viruses, but this process is energetically unfavorable; the transmembrane fusion subunit (TM) of the virion-attached glycoprotein actively catalyzes the membrane merger process. Retroviral glycoproteins are the prototypical system to study pH-independent viral entry. In this study, we determined crystal structures of extramembrane regions of the TMs from Mason-Pfizer monkey virus (MPMV) and xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) at 1.7-Å and 2.2-Å resolution, respectively. The structures are comprised of a trimer of hairpins that is characteristic of class I viral fusion proteins and now completes a structural library of retroviral fusion proteins. Our results allowed us to identify a series of intra- and interchain electrostatic interactions in the heptad repeat and chain reversal regions. Mutagenesis reveals that charge-neutralizing salt bridge mutations significantly destabilize the postfusion six-helix bundle and abrogate retroviral infection, demonstrating that electrostatic stapling of the fusion subunit is essential for viral entry. Our data indicate that salt bridges are a major stabilizing force on the MPMV and XMRV retroviral TMs and likely provide the key energetics for viral and host membrane fusion.