We have transferred the mouse Ak alpha and Ak beta genes, which encode the class II I-Ak molecule, into mouse L-cell fibroblasts and hamster B cells. I-Ak molecules are expressed on the surface of both cell types. The L-cell and hamster B-cell I-Ak molecules appear normal by serological analyses and two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. Furthermore, the I-Ak molecules on L cells can act as targets for the allogenic T-cell killing of the transformed L cells. The I-Ak molecules in both mouse fibroblasts and hamster B cells can present certain antigens to T-cell helper hybridomas. Thus only class II molecules are required to convert the nonantigen-presenting cell. Accordingly, it will be possible to dissect the structure-function relationships existing between Ia molecules, foreign antigen, and T-cell receptor molecules by in vitro site-directed mutagenesis and gene transfer.