Equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1), an α-herpesvirus of the family Herpesviridae, causes respiratory disease, abortion, and encephalomyelitis in horses. EHV-1 utilizes equine MHC class I molecules as entry receptors. However, hamster MHC class I molecules on EHV-1-susceptible CHO-K1 cells play no role in EHV-1 entry. To identify the MHC class I molecule region that is responsible for EHV-1 entry, domain exchange and site-directed mutagenesis experiments were performed, in which parts of the extracellular region of hamster MHC class I (clone C5) were replaced with corresponding sequences from equine MHC class I (clone A68). Substitution of alanine for glutamine at position 173 (Q173A) within the α2 domain of the MHC class I molecule enabled hamster MHC class I C5 to mediate EHV-1 entry into cells. Conversely, substitution of glutamine for alanine at position 173 (A173Q) in equine MHC class I A68 resulted in loss of EHV-1 receptor function. Equine MHC class I clone 3.4, which possesses threonine at position 173, was unable to act as an EHV-1 receptor. Substitution of alanine for threonine at position 173 (T173A) enabled MHC class I 3.4 to mediate EHV-1 entry into cells. These results suggest that the amino acid residue at position 173 of the MHC class I molecule is involved in the efficiency of EHV-1 entry.