In mammalian cells, short peptides derived from intracellular proteins are displayed on the cell membrane associated with class I molecules of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). The surface presentation of class I-peptide complexes presumably alerts the immune system to intracellular viral protein synthesis. Peptides derived from the cytosol must reach the cisternae of the endoplasmic reticulum where they are required for the assembly of stable class I molecules, and it has been proposed that the products of the two MHC-encoded ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter genes function to deliver the peptides across the membrane of the endoplasmic reticulum. This idea is supported by experiments in which transfection of a human cell line defective in class I expression with a complementary DNA of one of these genes restored cell surface expression levels. Here we show that the complete phenotype of the mouse mutant cell line RMA-S, in which lack of surface expression of stable class I molecules correlates with an inability to present viral peptides originating in the cytosol, is repaired by the cDNA of the other transporter gene. These results are consistent with the possibility that the two transporter polypeptides form a heterodimer.