Before exit from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), MHC class I molecules transiently associate with the transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP1/TAP2) in an interaction that is bridged by tapasin. TAP1 and TAP2 belong to the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter family, and are necessary and sufficient for peptide translocation across the ER membrane during loading of MHC class I molecules. Most ABC transporters comprise a transmembrane region with six membrane-spanning helices. TAP1 and TAP2, however, contain additional N-terminal sequences whose functions may be linked to interactions with tapasin and MHC class I molecules. Upon expression and purification of human TAP1/TAP2 complexes from insect cells, proteolytic fragments were identified that result from cleavage at residues 131 and 88 of TAP1 and TAP2, respectively. N-Terminally truncated TAP variants lacking these segments retained the ability to bind peptide and nucleotide substrates at a level comparable to that of wild-type TAP. The truncated constructs were also capable of peptide translocation in vitro, although with reduced efficiency. In an insect cell-based assay that reconstituted the class I loading pathway, the truncated TAP variants promoted HLA-B*2705 processing to similar levels as wild-type TAP. However, correlating with the observed reduction in tapasin binding, the tapasin-mediated increase in processing of HLA-B*2705 and HLA-B*4402 was lower for the truncated TAP constructs relative to the wild type. Together, these studies indicate that N-terminal domains of TAP1 and TAP2 are important for tapasin binding and for optimal peptide loading onto MHC class I molecules.