Mutations can interfere with posttranscriptional expression of the HLA-A and -B genes. B-lymphoblastoid cells that contain one copy of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) were subjected to mutagenesis and immunoselection for MHC antigen-loss mutants. Some mutations partially reduced surface expression of HLA-A and eliminated HLA-B expression concurrently, although the HLA-A and -B genes were present and transcribed. Antigen expression was fully restored in hybrids of these mutants with other B-lymphoblastoid cells. Therefore, normal cell surface expression of the HLA-A and -B antigens on B lymphoblasts requires (i) execution of at least one trans-active step in the production of the antigens after transcription of the HLA-A and -B genes or (ii) association of the class I antigens with other molecules. DNA analysis of one mutant suggests the possibility that a locus required for the normal expression of the HLA-A and -B antigens is located between the MHC complement genes and the HLA-DP alpha II locus.