The CD8 (Lyt 2) molecule is a phenotypic marker for T lymphocytes that recognize and react with major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules. Antibody blocking experiments and gene transfection studies indicate that CD8 binds to a determinant on MHC class I molecules on the target cells, facilitating interaction between effector T lymphocytes and the target cell. The CD8 molecule may also be involved in transmembrane signalling during T-cell activation. The existence of CD8- cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) and class I-reactive CTL that are not inhibited by antibody to CD8 suggests that at least some CTL do not require the CD8 molecule to interact with and lyse target cells. We have recently demonstrated that cells transfected with an H-2Dd gene that carries a mutation at residue 227 are not killed by primary CTL8. Here we show that although this mutation abrogates recognition by primary CTL, it does not affect recognition by CD8-independent CTL, suggesting that residue 227 of class I molecules might contribute to a determinant that is the ligand of the CD8 molecule.